English defender Roger Johnson to play for FC Pune City in the Indian Super League
Pune, 18th August 2015
The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Hrithik Roshan co-owned Indian Super League club FC Pune City have continued their stellar signing spree by sprucing up their squad signing former Cardiff City and West Ham United central defender Roger Johnson for the 2015 edition of the league. The 32-year-old played an instrumental role in Cardiff City’s runners-up campaign in the 2008 FA Cup.
Speaking on the new signing, FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel said, “Roger will partner Nickey (Shorey) and strengthen our defence. His vast experience of the English Premier League and Championship will be invaluable. He also has an eye for goal which will be an extra asset for us. We are delighted to have him in our team."
The defender began his career with made his professional debut for Wycombe Wanderers when he of all but 17. After making 182 appearances for the Chairboys, his eye-catching performances earned him a move to Cardiff City in 2006.
In his stint for over three seasons with the Welsh outfit, the central defender made 136 appearances, playing in an FA Cup final, winning Player of the Year and being named in the Championship Team of the Season. He then chose to take a step up to the top flight with Birmingham City in 2009.
Johnson excited to play in India
Expressing his excitement Johnson said he is looking forward to his first stint outside of England. “This will be a completely new experience in my career. I am excited to be a part of FC Pune City’s ambitious plans to bring home the Indian Super League title this season. Alongside the head coach David Platt and other top signings, I hope to share my experience with the boys in the side and make a difference,” said the central defender.
Johnson has played in the top flight in England for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City and, most recently, West Ham United in the Premier League which was followed by a short stint at Charlton Atheltic. The 32-year old defender also is known to score goals at crucial moments.
In the 2007–08 season, representing Cardiff City, he scored late winners against Norwich City in the League and Brighton & Hove Albion in the League Cup, as well as vital equalisers against Hull City and Preston North End. Johnson’s second goal of Cardiff's memorable 2–0 away victory over Premier League Middlesbrough in the 2007–08 FA Cup quarter-final.
His header in the Severnside Derby match against Bristol City in March 2008 was his seventh goal of the season. He played in all six of Cardiff's matches on their way to the FA Cup Final, in which they lost 1–0 to Portsmouth, and at the end of the season he was awarded the club's Player of the Year award.
Platt hopes Johnson will improve the players around him
Head Coach, David Platt said, “Roger is a defender with great experience. He is solid in his defensive duties and exceptional vocal organizer which is a quality that will help the players around him.”
Co-owner Hrithik Roshan was delighted to have the English defender on board. “Roger Johnson adds further muscle to our team’s defence. The signings we have made in last one month, including of Roger today, prove that FC Pune City is now serious title contenders,” said Hrithik.
After securing a host of attacking options up-front, Johnson becomes the first defender to have signed for a star-studded FC Pune City team which has been carefully assembled by head coach David Platt. He becomes eighth new player for this season following the stellar arrivals of Adrian Mutu, Didier Zokora, Tuncay Sanli, Yendrick Ruiz among familiar English players like Nicky Shorey, Steve Simonsen and James Bailey. Johnson shall immediately join the squad in Turkey where the team is currently training for their preseason.