Manchester City fear Johnson could be out for season

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The Independent Online

Manchester City's Michael Johnson, whose career has been blighted by a pelvic injury which has kept him out for a year, will today undergo scans on a knee injury sustained in training, amid some fears that he might be ruled out for the rest of the season.

City were unable last night to reveal the severity of the injury or comment on suggestions that Johnson has damaged his cruciate ligaments and may be out for a further year. If the worst fears are confirmed, the 21-year-old's future at City would seem to be in some doubt.

The player, capped twice by England Under-21s in 2007, had been close to a comeback, having played the full 90 minutes of City's reserve team's 1-1 draw against Blackburn on Monday. His effort to climb back prompted coach Eddie Niedzwiecki to pay tribute only this week to "a young player who's had a horrendous time with injuries".

At times, he said, "you could see it etched in his features as he battled to get back on the pitch". His return had been described by Mark Hughes as akin to City having signed a "multi-million pound player".

Johnson seemed to be on the way back after a fine performance in City's 3-0 win at Sunderland in August last year but he broke down soon after and has just begun another return to the fray. He made an outing in the Carling Cup against Scunthorpe in October, a performance capped by a superb goal.

His elegant style has seen him compared to Colin Bell by some City supporters and earned him the nickname of "FEC" ("Future England Captain") at one stage by his team-mates. City rejected an £8m offer for him from Newcastle United in last January's transfer window.

"We don't know how bad it is at the moment and we don't want to speculate at this stage," a City spokesman said of his injury last night.

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