Norwich City’s Johnson reveals England ambitions

Norwich City midfielder Bradley Johnson says an England call would cap a meteoric rise after his teenage rejection.

The 24-year-old made an immediate impact from the bench at the weekend with the free kick that picked out Grant Holt to seal a 4-2 Premier League win over Newcastle that cemented City’s place in the top half of the table.

Johnson has largely been an ever-present at the heart of Paul Lambert’s midfield in the opening months with a string of consistent displays earning him a place in Fabio Capello’s provisional squad for the recent Euro2012 qualifier against Montenegro.

Johnson missed out on the final cut, but the former Leeds midfielder will never give up hope of representing his country at senior level after almost quitting football when he was rejected by boyhood club Arsenal.

He said: “If I had got the call up it would have been a bonus.But I didn’t get the call and obviously it’s in the back of my mind. I want to play for my country and it’s going to give me that incentive to work harder but I am going to concentrate on Norwich first and if I get a call up it’s a bonus for me.

“I was at Arsenal from the age of 10 to 15. I was a supporter of Arsenal and still am. All my family are. It was a boyhood dream to play for Arsenal and for them to tell me I wasn’t good enough and they didn’t want to give me a new contract broke my heart. I just lost interest in football.

“I got kicked out of school and everything else didn’t look like it was going for me, but my family stood strong by me and my dad told me to keep my head up and kept on taking me training with my local team.”

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The former Gunner earned his free transfer to Carrow Road in the summer after impressing against the Canaries for Leeds.

Johnson – in an interview with Premier League World – insists he left Elland Road on good terms. He said: “There are two sides to every story and my side never really got put out there. I spoke to Ken Bates when I left and we have no hard feelings against each other. I still wish Leeds the best and hopefully they wish me the best. Every time I put on the Leeds shirt I gave 110 per cent and I think the fans saw that.

“I wanted to sign there, but obviously the circumstances weren’t right and I’ve moved on and I am where I always wanted to be – in the Premier League and I’m not looking back.”