Wigan Athletic new-boy's 'platform' to the Prem!

Loan capture Darnell Johnson is determined to use his time with Wigan Athletic as a ‘great platform’ to a career in the Premier League with Leicester City.
Darnell JohnsonDarnell Johnson
Darnell Johnson

The 22-year-old will be with Latics until January to bolster a backline that was decimated over the off-season.

And he admits he needed little persuasion to put pen to paper for a new challenge.

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“I’m very pleased to be here, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now,” he said.

“As soon as I got the call that Wigan wanted to take me on loan, I spoke to the staff at Leicester and we jumped at the opportunity.

“This is a really big club and, if I can work hard as part of the team, it’s a great platform for me to progress and continue my career.”

Johnson certainly has big boots to fill at Wigan – he’s the godson of ex-Latics and England striker Emile Heskey!

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He has a decent pedigree too, having represented England at every level between Under-16s and Under-21s, winning 21 caps and even scoring two goals.

He wore the captain’s armband at Under-16 level, and was in the team that won the European Under-19s Championships in 2017 alongside Dujon Sterling – Reece James was an unused substitute.

Johnson has yet to make a first-team appearance for Leicester, with all 11 of his outings coming in the EFL Trophy for the Under-23/21 sides.

His one senior run-out came during a loan spell with Hibernian in February 2019.

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But he’s champing at the bit to show what he can do – and has already settled into life behind at Christopher Park.

“It’s a great set of lads here, they’ve really welcomed me, and they all work hard on the training pitch,” Johnson admitted.

“With the win at Portsmouth at the weekend, everyone’s obviously in good spirits and I’d like to try and help them if I can.

“I’d describe myself as quick, nice and aggressive, good at talking and communicating, and I’m adaptable as well to whatever style we want to play.

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“I’m fit, healthy, raring to go...I’ve played a few games at Leicester behind closed doors and had a good pre-season prior to that, so I’m ready.”

Meanwhile, next Tuesday ’s EFL Trophy clash against Port Vale at the DW Stadium has been brought forward to a 7pm kick-off.

Latics are top of their four-team group after hammering Liverpool Under-21s 6-1 last week.

Their third and final game in the round-robin sees them, travel to League Two outfit Tranmere on November 10.