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First Team News

DJ's Love Of The Game At A High

22 April 2020

Daniel Johnson admits his love for football has grown even stronger during the current break in action due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

DJ had been in fine form the the Lilywhites before the season was paused, and the 27-year-old midfielder admits the time away from training and playing has only increased his love for the game and his desire to get back playing when it is safe to do so.

Speaking to iFollow PNE from his home via Zoom, Johnson said: "What's happened is obviously really sad and very unfortunate but for me personally, I think I've come to terms with how much I actually love football.

"When you've had your break in the summer and had your weeks off, it's completely different because you just want to go away and spend time with the family and relax and switch off. At the moment, all I can think about is football, because in the back of my mind there are nine games left, so I know at some point everything is going to resume again, so it's hard to switch off.

"So I think the appreciation right now for me personally is at its highest to be honest, because nobody saw this coming, for everything to just come to a complete stop is crazy.

"I speak to friends and family members on the phone everyday about what is going on, everyone has got their own theory on what is happening but I just express how much I miss football to be honest and I can't wait to be back."

Johnson understands the severity of the current situation and knows football can only resume when it is safe to do so, but he feels when it does return, it will give football fans and players alike a much needed boost following a difficult period for everyone.

"Football is an escape for everyone, it's even an escape for us boys as players to be honest. Just being able to wake up and go to training every morning and do something that you love and something that you enjoy.

"I think ultimately, when you do sports, obviously it's a job at the end of the day and it's what paid you and helps you to look after your family etc. but I think as a young kid growing up, and just enjoying playing the game, it's hard to not still be in love with the game.

"You obviously have different moments in your career but I just think football is life and as a kid, if you grew up wanting to play football and eventually you are able to fulfil your dreams and become a professional footballer, I think you've just got to enjoy every single moment, whether it's good or bad.

"You've just got to enjoy it because that's the journey, you've just got to ride the wave and take every positive you can out of a bad situation and enjoy the positive as much as you can."

For now though, the focus remains on the health of the nation as we look to come through the challenging times we are in, and Johnson has urged everyone to continue to follow government advice and keep the health of themselves and their loved ones as the priority.

"I think right now it's just a sad situation and I think everyone has just got to try and stay as safe as possible, listen to the rules and eventually we will be back playing at some point.

Everything is just at a pause now, nobody anticipated this happening. If anyone said the world would just come to a complete stop you would think they were crazy, but it's happened and it's sad. Obviously a lot of people have lost family and friends and it's really sad but everyone has just got to listen to the guidelines, stay at home and look after your family."

Watch the full interview with DJ by clicking on the video above, or watch our extended chat with him as he reflects on the 2015 Play-Off campaign by clicking here.


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