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Johnson to follow Ireland lead

MICHAEL JOHNSON is ready to leave his passport in the drawer and commit himself to a long, hot summer of hard work to be in tip-top shape for City's Barclays Premier League kick-off in August.

The Blues' talented 21-year-old midfielder, frustrated by pelvic and abdominal injuries since last September, will bid to put his lost season firmly behind him by swapping the beach for Carrington's training pitch.

Johnno is desperate to take up a meaningful role as the City revolution gathers momentum under Mark Hughes, and the manager has urged him to follow Stephen Ireland's highly-successful example of last summer.

Ireland's extra solo work before the tough pre-season sessions kicked in have underpinned a great season at home and in Europe that saw him narrowly miss out on the PFA Young Player of the Year award last weekend.


If ever there was a template to follow in terms of how to spend the off-season the Stephen Ireland's efforts at the end of the 2007/08 season are a superb example.

Johnson has been desperately unlucky with injuries over the past year, and the hope is that they were 'growing pains' and that he is now over the worst of the problems he had. Despite the talent (and numbers) that we possess in midfield, Johnson is a player we have desperately missed throughout the campaign and it is re-assuring that it appears as though any doubts over his long term are long gone.