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In Focus: Dragons star Johnson is on fire at Forest
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Sean Wilson
LiveScore
Brennan Johnson will be hoping to continue his fine league form against Poland
Brennan Johnson will be hoping to continue his fine league form against Poland

Brennan Johnson has hit the ground running in the Premier League — now he is ready to make a big impact on the international stage.

The 21-year-old has starred for Nottingham Forest since their promotion to the top flight, emerging as a key man in Steve Cooper's side.

And he has also been in impressive form for his nation, chipping in with a goal contribution in each of his last three Wales outings. 

Ahead of the Dragons' clash with Poland tonight, we take a closer look at the impact Johnson can have in both the Nations League and the upcoming World Cup.

Rapid rise

Johnson was sent on loan to League One side Lincoln in 2020-21 for his first real taste of senior football and immediately cemented himself as a regular.

Then still a teenager, he made 48 appearances, scoring 13 times and registering 14 assists in all competitions as the Imps reached the play-off final. 

He was quickly integrated into Forest's first team the following season — but the step up to the Championship did not faze him. 

The Nottingham native notched 19 times in league, cup and play-off matches, grabbing a further nine assists as the club made their long-awaited return to English football's top tier.

Brennan Johnson typically enjoys operating on the right flank of Nottingham Forest's attack
Brennan Johnson typically enjoys operating on the right flank of Nottingham Forest's attack

Producing in the Premier League

Though Forest have struggled collectively since returning to the Premier League, Johnson has been doing his bit in front of goal. 

He is the club's joint-top league scorer alongside Taiwo Awoniyi with two strikes, making them each individually responsible for a third of their team's strikes so far. 

Johnson has not been afforded many opportunities to pull the trigger but has been clinical when given a sight of goal, scoring with 66% of his shots on target and converting both of the big chances he was presented with — one being a penalty.

Nottingham Forest's Brennan Johnson has struck twice in the Premier League this season
Nottingham Forest's Brennan Johnson has struck twice in the Premier League this season

No fear

Johnson has certainly not been overawed by the stage on which he is now expected to perform. 

Some might choose to play things safe after moving up a division but Johnson remains willing to run at his man constantly.

He has been particularly successful in that department, completing a team-leading five take-ons and only failing with one — a remarkable success rate.

Brennan Johnson has been one of Nottingham Forest's most impressive performers in 2022-23
Brennan Johnson has been one of Nottingham Forest's most impressive performers in 2022-23

Wowing for Wales

Wales' young forward has taken the step up to international football in his stride as well. 

Boasting just 10 caps before this Nations League campaign began in the summer, Johnson has established himself an integral part of his country's attack — even if the team as a whole have struggled. 

He scored his first goal for Wales in dramatic circumstances, coming off the bench to seal a shock 1-1 draw with Belgium. 

Manager Rob Page then handed him a starting spot against the Netherlands and the Forest No20 rewarded his coach's faith with another strike, though the Dragons slipped to defeat. 

He also registered an assist in the rematch against Belgium on Thursday, setting Kieffer Moore up to pull one back in a 2-1 loss.

Catching the eye

Page was full of praise for Johnson after his performance in Thursday's clash with the Red Devils. 

The Wales boss, 48, deployed the attacker in a deeper role and was particularly impressed by his improvement and quality when carrying the ball. 

He said: "Brennan has been superb, he has come on so much in such a short time. 

"I asked something different of him in midfield. 

"When you see him run with the ball it is brilliant, that is his game, that is his strength." 

There appears little doubt that Johnson is a shoe-in for the plane to Qatar — and it would be unwise to bet against him attracting worldwide attention when the tournament kicks off in November.

Tags

WalesUEFA Nations LeagueNottingham Forest
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