The 19-year-old is currently on loan with Lincoln City and has been in impressive form, registering seven goals in 24 appearances. While he is set to remain with the Imps for the remainder of the season, it is no surprise that he is attracting attention from the top-flight.
Brennan Johnson: Why the Nottingham Forest Forward is in High Demand
Most Effective From the Left
Johnson has been used in multiple positions by Michael Appleton so far this season, although his best performances have come from the left-hand side.
The 19-year-old’s performances from the left are where he has caused the most problems. In the back-to-back games against Northampton Town and Burton Albion, Johnson terrorised the opposition, registering two goals and an assist in both games.
His performances against the Cobblers was arguably the better of the two. He found Anthony Scully via a superb ball over the top to assist for the opening goal. It showed a different side to his game; Johnson is not usually known for feeding passes through to the forwards, but is more often than not on the receiving end of them.
Then he showed why sides such as Burnley and Leeds United are tracking his progress. His first goal came from superb spatial awareness, lobbing the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper after taking a touch. The second came via a first time finish after receiving the ball on the left-hand side of the area.
Johnson has had the most shots on average per game so far this season with 2.3 per game. In comparison, Lincoln striker Tom Hopper has registered 0.8.
However, the two link up superbly and complement their styles of play well. Hopper holds the ball up, bringing the ball down before laying it off to Johnson, Scully or Harry Anderson (the latter two tend to operate on the right wing). Johnson also tends to operate slightly closer to the Imps’ number nine, as shown by his heatmap against Northampton, where he occupied the inside left position.
What Johnson well, though, is diverting his runs into the middle when his team-mate makes runs down the channel. It is a sign of the fluidity that Appleton has created among his team, as the front three constantly interchanges.
Where Can He Improve?
The area the 19-year-old can look to improve on is finishing, in particular his end product. However, this will come and no doubt develop as he gets older.
Chances spring to mind, too. He had a one-on-one chance with Accrington in the Papa John’s Trophy that should have been converted into the opposite corner. In the 4-0 home defeat Sunderland, he rounded the goalkeeper early on but forced himself too far wide, meaning that he could not get his shot on target.
However, that composure in front of goal can come with experience, so he is only going to get better.
Remaining With Lincoln
Despite interest from the aforementioned Premier League clubs, Brentford and Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, Johnson is set to remain with the Imps until the end of the season.
Speaking recently to Nottinghamshire Live, Forest boss Chris Hughton said: “I think it’s probably more that we’re happy with him where he is at the moment.
“First and foremost, I have a responsibility to the team to try to get the points that we need to start climbing the table.
“But I also have a responsibility to the club and to development.
“And at this moment, my thinking has been that, fortunately for Brennan, he’s at a club where he’s playing regularly.
“Credit to everybody associated with Lincoln and the manager, that he’s playing consistently.
“At the moment, probably my thoughts are more very much that he’s better off there.”
Remaining with Lincoln will offer Johnson the chance to continue showcasing his skill and sensational ability. Both Forest and Lincoln will not want a repeat of last season, where Tyler Walker was recalled before barely featuring at the City Ground during the second half of the season.
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