Ex-Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has backed Nottingham Forest star Brennan Johnson to enjoy a solid World Cup. The Reds forward will hope to start for Wales tomorrow when they face the USA in their opening game.
Johnson has established himself in the Wales team over the last 12 months. He looks set to be a regular at the tournament which starts in Qatar later tonight, with the hosts taking on Ecuador.
The 21-year-old forward has stepped up to Premier League football this season. He scored 19 goals last season as the Reds won promotion to the top flight under the influence of Steve Cooper.
Johnson found the net twice against teams managed by Rooney last season. He equalised for Forest at Pride Park in August of the 2021/22 campaign, before scoring the second in a 2-1 win over the Rams in January.
Now at DC United, Rooney has told The Times that Johnson could be in for a good tournament. The publication quizzed him on the competition and he namechecked Johnson when asked to pick a surprise package.
Rooney told The Times: “I’ve been interested to see how Wales star Brennan Johnson has stepped up with Nottingham Forest.
“I think the group might allow one of Wales or the USA the chance to get to the quarter-finals. Johnson could do well.”
Rooney has backed Johnson for solid World Cup
It seems like the first half of Johnson’s campaign has been geared towards this. The Forest star has been somewhat inconsistent in the Premier League and that is in stark contrast to his form last season.
As a young lad, it’s not really a surprise. This is the first World Cup for Wales in 64 years so there is absolutely no saying when the next one might come around for the extremely proud nation.
Still, Johnson is a quality talent. He will remain a big player for the Reds after the competition and Cooper is a big fan of his compatriot, continuing to reward him with a place in the team.
It will be quite something to see Johnson fire at the World Cup in Qatar. He deserves this chance and it will be interesting to see if the Forest man earns a starting berth for Wales at the tournament.
Rooney offering praise to a Forest player could see him risk the wrath of Derby fans. They adored him during his time at Pride Park and this might sting a little bit down the A52 for the Rams faithful.