Brennan Johnson

New Tottenham recuit Brennan Johnson. Pic: Tottenham Hotspur FC

Brennan Johnson Needs Patient Handling At Tottenham, Says Wales Boss Rob Page


By David Williams

Brennan Johnson can handle the hype of being Harry Kane’s follow-up act – but Tottenham fans have to show patience.

That’s the advice of Wales manager Rob Page, who has been down this road before with both Gareth Bale and Dan James.

Page was a young coach making his way at Port Vale 10 years ago, who took a close interest as Bale left Spurs to join Real Madrid.

As Wales boss, Page then had a hands-on role helping James cope with his £15m move from Swansea City to Manchester United.

Johnson – the new Prince of Wales in succession to Bale – will carry the same burdens after his £45m deadline day move from Nottingham Forest, but Page said: “He can handle it.

“He will stay grounded and cope with the hype around replacing Harry Kane because he’s a good character with a strong support network.

“But it’s important to protect young players. The supporters will be very expectant and demand that he hits the very top level, but that’s impossible to sustain all the time.

“Brennan might have a bit of a dip in form and it’s important then that pressures and expectations around him are managed.”

Winger James began well at United in 2019, but then struggled under the spotlight and was sold to Leeds United for £25m two years later.

Page believes Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou has to be willing to take Johnson out of the firing line if he becomes a sitting target when things go wrong.

“There are pressures on managers all over the country, but you have to protect young players.

“When you go from one season in the Championship to one of the world’s biggest clubs in Manchester United – as Dan James did – there comes a time when your form is inevitably going to drop.

“To protect players, you have to pull them out.

“But there’s no doubts over Brennan’s quality. They have got one of the best counter-attacking forwards in the Premier League.”

Postecoglou said: “He’s just another exciting young player.

“He’s a real threat in the front third, he’s different from what we’ve already got, he’s young and ambitious. It’s no secret that’s the model for me.

“It’s just as much about the person as well as the footballer, and looking at him he’s going to fit in really well with this group. He’s ambitious and hungry and wants to take his game to the next level.

“The technical and the physical attributes he has, he should fit in really well.”

Johnson was the ninth signing of a busy window for Tottenham, who spent more than £200m to reshape the squad in Postecoglou’s style.

But the Australian said it was just the start and that there is more work that he wants to do in future transfer windows.

“When you look at the team we have now, we virtually changed half the starting line-up, the way we train, the way we coach,” he said.

“The rebuild was never going to be one window.”


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