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Baller of the Week (23 February 2014): Bradley Johnson

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Tottenham fell to Norwich City in a season-defining match on Sunday, and an Englishmen made the difference.

Offensively brilliant and a defensive rock in central midfield, Bradley Johnson proved to be a difference maker in the Canaries 1-0 win over the Spurs. Not only did he pick out Robert Snodgrass brilliantly at the beginning of the second half, allowing to Scott to coolly slot away the match’s only goal, but he also thundered a brilliant free-kick into the bar in the fixture’s dying embers, which could have easily eluded Hugo Lloris and guarantee a Norwich victory.

Snodgrass_medium

Johnson has never worn the Three Lions shirt, but certainly turned in the kind of performance that warrants praise, as his success is a product of the English youth system. After leaving Arsenal’s academy, he puttered around in England’s lower divisions until joining Norwich, where he ascended into the Premier League on the back of the Canaries’ promotion campaign.

The 26 year-old midfielder has not been particularly consistent this year, but his quality was apparent throughout the match. He accumulated six tackles, cleared the ball away twice, and blocked one shot in addition to his offensive contributions. His performance earned him Barclays Man of the Match honours, which seems to have boosted his confidence:

It would have been fantastic to see Johnson convert from distance. His kick was beautifully taken and called the new Goal Decision System into action as it cannoned off the bar, but the goal-that-could-have-been nevertheless epitomized the Englishman’s quality on the day. In the end, Johnson was the difference between one point and three, as Norwich capitalized on Tottenham's poor performance, bolstering the side's confidence as they push for to remain in England's top flight.