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Wales reaping the rewards of Brennan Johnson’s focus on finishing

The 21-year-old scored 19 goals last season as Nottingham Forest were promoted to the Premier League.

Phil Blanche
Wednesday 15 June 2022 10:54 BST
Brennan Johnson celebrates scoring for Wales against Holland in Rotterdam (Tim Goode/PA)
Brennan Johnson celebrates scoring for Wales against Holland in Rotterdam (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Wire)

Brennan Johnson says he had to improve his finishing to hit the goal trail for Wales.

Johnson backed up his 19-goal season at Nottingham Forest by showing his scoring prowess in the Nations League.

The 21-year-old scored his first Wales goal in the 1-1 home draw with Belgium on Saturday and was on target again in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat to Holland.

Johnson collected Harry Wilson’s pass and, despite having Dutch defenders for company, took the shot early to find the bottom corner of the Holland net.

“It has been a good camp,” said Johnson, who will be playing Premier League football following Forest’s promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

“After a long season I thought I have done well and coming into these games I had the confidence to do it again with Wales.

“I am happy with how it has panned out.

I work on loads of types of different finishes. I think it is something I needed to improve on

Brennan Johnson

“I work on loads of types of different finishes. I think it is something I needed to improve on.

“I’ve had to adapt from club football to international football.

“There are some things the manager (Robert Page) wants me to do slightly different for Wales. We’ve just watched through that.”

Wales’ cruel defeat in Rotterdam to Memphis Depay’s stoppage-time winner marked the end of five games in 14 days.

Memphis Depay, right, celebrates his late Nations League winner against Wales in Rotterdam (Peter Dejong/AP) (AP)

World Cup qualification was always the priority and that was achieved in the second of the five matches with a 1-0 play-off final victory over Ukraine in Cardiff.

The Nations League has been a bitter-sweet affair for a Wales side making their debut in the top tier, with promising individual and team performances undone by conceding late goals.

Poland’s winner in Wroclaw came five minutes from time, and it was a case of double Dutch for Wales as Holland twice produced the decisive moments in added time.

Johnson said of the Rotterdam defeat: “It was another tough game and really tough to lose at the end.

“But there are loads of positives to take from it.

“I think there were positives, especially for 60 minutes of the game, as we went head to head with them and showed what we can do.

“It was just really disappointing at the end.”

Boss Page has described Johnson as “the future of Welsh football” following his breakthrough season at Forest.

Manager Robert Page says Brennan Johnson’s impact has lifted the entire Wales squad (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)

Johnson was on loan at Lincoln in the 2020-21 campaign and has yet to become a regular starter for his country, but Page says his impact has lifted the entire squad.

Asked if Johnson had eased the scoring burden on skipper Gareth Bale, Page said: “Yes, but on everybody as well.

“It is great when you have your best players, and Brennan is certainly showing his worth.

“When you have them on the team sheet, it is certainly not just the centre-forwards who you get a lift from, it is your team-mates around you as well.

“Brennan is growing game by game and has a bright future.”

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