Premier League

Thursday 24 July 2014

City release Johnson after sad decline

Published 16/01/2013|05:00

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Michael Johnson, a player once tipped to be a future England regular, has had his contract paid off by Manchester City, it has been revealed.

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The 24-year-old has not played for City since October 2009 and last played competitively on loan for Leicester in November 2011.

He was convicted of two drink-driving offences last September and was offered a severance package from his £40,000-a-week contract by City just before Christmas.

This came to light after a picture circulated on Twitter (above) on Monday that showed the player, once the subject of a £10m bid by Liverpool, looking out of shape – a far cry from his youth, when Sven Goran Eriksson said that he would not swap him for Steven Gerrard.

His lifestyle was a cause of great concern, though there remains a sympathetic view of his fall from grace, with those fully aware of his off-field battles keen to stress that Johnson's story is not simply one of a player wasting his talent.

Despite not playing since 2009, Johnson was included in team photographs and even handed a squad number at the start of this season, despite it becoming clear more than 18 months ago that he would be unable to resurrect his career at the club.

Irish Independent

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