Manchester City released midfielder Michael Johnson at the end of last year, it has emerged.
Johnson, 24, had been tipped for a bright future in the game after making the breakthrough at City, with Sven-Goran Eriksson, who managed the club during the 2007-08 season, having spoken of the player in glowing terms on several occasions.
However, he suffered with injury problems, and it is reported that both Eriksson’s successors, Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini, held doubts over Johnson’s personality and ability to stand up to the mental challenges that come with playing football at the highest level.
He failed to make a single appearance under Mancini, last representing City in a Carling Cup game at Scunthorpe in October 2009, and in the summer of 2011 he was farmed out on a season-long loan to Championship side Leicester, who were then under the management of Eriksson. He made nine appearances before being sent back in January after suffering another injury.
He was twice arrested for drink-driving last year, resulting in a three-year driving ban and a £5,500 fine, and there have long been concerns over the player’s weight.
Johnson, who earned £40,000 a week at the Etihad Stadium, was released just before Christmas. His contract had been due to expire this summer.