BRENNAN JOHNSON has been tipped to join a top-six Premier League club this summer – if Nottingham Forest fail to win promotion.
The Wales rising star, who turned 21 on Monday, will face Huddersfield in Sunday’s Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Johnson was the subject of a £15million bid from Prem outfit Brentford in January while Newcastle, Leeds and Leicester were also interested.
But Tottenham are also keen on the highly-rated Championship’s young player of the season and Johnson’s Wales boss Robert Page believes he is now worthy of joining a European-qualified club if Steve Cooper’s fall short.
Page said: “I think he’s top-six now. He has shown he’s got that potential and ability.
“I’ve seen it in him for a long time and it’s been great to watch his development.
“I think that the teams showing interest in him in January have lost out now.”
Page has hailed Johnson as the ‘future of Welsh football’ with Gareth Bale in the twilight of his successful international career.
Even David Beckham, who is friends with Johnson’s dad David, paid tribute to the forward on his birthday when he posted on Instagram: “Young, talented but more importantly a great kid’.
But the interim Dragons chief, preparing in Portugal for the World Cup play-off against Scotland or Ukraine on June 5 without Johnson – who scored in both semi-final legs against Sheffield United, due to his club commitments, reckons the 19-goal starlet can handle it.
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Page added: “I’ve seen what he’d done in recent weeks in the Championship. There was a lot of hype spoken about him in January and that hasn’t fazed him at all.
“He hasn’t crumbled under that pressure. He’s enjoyed it and he’s gone to another level again.
“We all know his dad and it’s been great management from him as well. He could have gone in January but he didn’t and that speaks volumes about him as a person.
He could have chased the money and quadrupled his wages, if not more. But it’s not about that for him. It’s so refreshing to see young lads want to play and win trophies.
“All the rest will take care of itself, the money, nice houses and nice cars will come.
“He trusted in his ability, wanted to stay at the club that’s shown him love, playing good football and suits how he plays.
“His development has taken off and he will get his move. We’ll benefit from that as well.”
I’m going to use these Nations League games as a tool to give the Brennan Johnsons of the world the opportunity to expose them to top players and top teams
Nine-cap Johnson is likely to get a chance to impress for Wales next month with the play-off final as well as four Nations League games, starting against Poland on June 1.
Page said: “I’m going to use these Nations League games as a tool to give the Brennan Johnsons of the world the opportunity to expose them to top players and top teams.
“We want to win every game but the Nations League is not the be-all and end-all.
“It’s about exposing the younger players to opposition like that, so in 12 months or two years time when we’re in an important game for the World Cup or the Euros these players will have benefited from this experience and might be the one to score the winner to get us through.
“The first game will certainly be like that. I’m not making any excuses but there will be no risks taken before the final.
“Then against Holland and Belgium we will give other players an opportunity that we think will be the future of Welsh football.”