Preston boss Neil reveals truth behind Wigan’s failed Johnson move

Preston North End
Preston boss Alex Neil admits he will be shopping for experience when he considers his summer transfer targets.

Preston North End boss Alex Neil says there was never any chance of Daniel Johnson leaving the club this past summer.

Championship rivals Wigan Athletic wanted Johnson, initially on loan, and were reportedly prepared to go as high as £1.5million for him, but Neil never thought the midfielder looked like he was leaving Deepdale.

The Scotsman kept faith with Johnson when some Preston fans would have taken the money and run and has now seen the 17-year-old produce the best run of form he has ever done for the Lilywhites.

Pushed forward into a number ten role by Neil this season, Johnson has been a constant menace to Championship defences – scoring a superb brace against Barnsley last time out.

That Oakwell double took his season’s tally to seven goals and four assists in 10 Championship appearances – almost as many goal involvements as Johnson produced across the whole of last season.

Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire that there was interest in the Jamaican international over the summer, but that he gave a firm ‘no’ to all enquiries and added that Johnson never asked to leave Deepdale.

Neil has suggested that Alan Browne is now in the situation Johnson found himself in last term, when he didn’t start as many games as he would have liked.

The PNE boss said: “No – there wouldn’t have been any chance of DJ leaving. I think the thing is with DJ, where Alan probably finds himself at the moment, DJ found himself. Alan was always taking that role, and DJ was sort of being put in now and again, then put back out then put back in. His form at the moment is what’s got his position on a regular basis, nothing different than that. He would have been frustrated with that, but at no stage did we have a conversation where he wanted to leave, at no stage did I want him leave.”