MICHAEL Johnson revealed today that he has suffered from mental illness "for a number of years" after news emerged that the promising midfielder had been released by Manchester City.
The 24-year-old was once tipped as a future England international, but had disappeared off the radar City after his progress was stalled by injury.
The player had not pulled on the City shirt since Oct 2009 and a loan spell at Leicester last season was cut short.
In a short interview, he told the Manchester Evening News: "I have been attending the Priory Clinic for a number of years now with regard to my mental health and would be grateful if I could now be left alone to live the rest of my life."
Johnson, a former Everton youth team player, broke into the City first team at the age of 18 in 2006.
His stellar performances saw him linked with a big-money move to Liverpool but injuries, including a ruptured cruciate ligament, prevented him building on the promising start to his career.
He was twice arrested for drink-driving last year, leading to a three-year driving ban and fines totalling £5,500, and in recent times there were rumours he lacked the dedication required of a top-flight footballer.