Johnson stands on brink of dream chance

Wandsworth Guardian: Living the dream: Esher’s Jordan Johnson is bidding to reach the pro ranks Living the dream: Esher’s Jordan Johnson is bidding to reach the pro ranks

By Lucy Lomax

Esher’s Jordan Johnson quit Walton Casuals because he did not want to waste time sitting on the bench and the decision could yet make him a professional footballer.

The 21-year-old midfielder made it through to the final 22 of the Samsung Win a Pro Contract competition after starring in semi-final trials at Leyton Orient on Sunday.

Johnson quit Waterside Drive after only a handful of substitute appearances, but has found his form and fitness at Ryman Division One South rivals Crawley Down Gatwick, thanks to regular game time.

“I didn’t want to waste time sitting on the bench so I decided to move,” said Johnson, who lives in Hillbrow Court.

“I’ve been playing week in, week out in the Ryman South League and putting in solid performances, which gives me confidence.

“The thought of being so close to a professional contract makes me very excited, but I know that it will not come easy and I must work hard.

“I think I played quite well on Sunday and some of my team-mates said they thought I deserved the man of the match award.

“But it’s now up to the scouts and I’ll just have to wait.”

More than 5,500 hopefuls entered the competition and Johnson reached the final 88 after catching the eye at a regional trial in October.

And if he lands a deal with either Orient, Swindon Town or Wycombe Wanderers, Stags boss Mark Hams admits he would have made him look a little silly.

“He might turn out to be the best player in the league, but I could not afford to risk looking at him in a league match,” he said.

“In terms of judging a player, if I get it right I’m a hero, but if I get it wrong I look an idiot.

"He’s a tidy player, who reads the game well and is comfortable on the ball, but I‘d like to have seen him when he was fit.”

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