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Former Leeds United, Derby County and Norwich City star announces retirement with farewell message

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During his three and a half years at Elland Road, the versatile midfield player made 140 games and contributed to the team’s promotion from League One.

Following his 2011 transfer from Leeds to Norwich City, he played three seasons of Premier League football on a regular basis. He returned to the Championship with Derby County in 2015, having assisted the Canaries in their comeback to the top level.

There were seven years in the second tier, Pride Park serving as home for the first four of those years. After spending three years with Blackburn Rovers, he joined Milton Keynes Dons in League One in 2022.

Bradley Johnson scored a memorable goal for Leeds United in the FA Cup against Arsenal. Image: Bruce Rollinson
Against Arsenal in the FA Cup, Bradley Johnson gave Leeds United a memorable goal. Pictured by Bruce Rollinson

With a player-coach role in their under-21 setup, Derby brought Johnson back last year. He has since declared, nevertheless, that he would put up his boots and concentrate on coaching.

“After 20 great years and over 600 games, I am announcing my retirement from playing professional football,” Johnson stated in a social media message. I feel that, even though I am still physically capable of going, now is the proper time to announce my retirement so that I may devote all of my attention to my coaching profession. It’s been an incredible experience.

“I have cherished every second that I have had on this adventure.” I am really pleased of the amazing playing career I have had. While there have been many difficulties, highs, and lows along the road, I wouldn’t alter a thing, looking back. It’s been absolutely incredible, going from being released as a young lad at Arsenal to earning my way back to become a midfield player in the Premier League.

“Along the journey, there have been some incredible moments. Being a part of League Two, League One, and the Championship, as well as having been promoted to the Premier League with Norwich in front of a packed Wembley Stadium on one of the most incredible days of my life, makes me immensely proud.

“I feel grateful to have played alongside so many amazing players, many of whom I now feel fortunate to call my close friends. I feel honored to have gone on to play over 100 Premier League games, something I could only have dreamed of as a tiny boy growing up in Hackney. Without the people in my life, none of this would have been possible, and I have so many people to thank.

“I want to thank all the clubs I played for. I would want to express my gratitude to my colleagues, staff, management, and above all, the amazing supporters of MK Dons, Derby, Northampton, Stevenage, Ebbsfleet, Leeds, Brighton, Norwich, and Derby. I will always cherish each and every one of you.

I would especially like to thank my sister Abbie, my father Keith, brothers Dean, Jack, and Louis, and my mother Karen. You guys made it possible, and I will always be grateful for your dedication, selflessness, and support.

“I would want to express my gratitude to my management team, which included Roxanne Hessian, Olivia Chilton, Fahri Ecvet, Duncan Ross, and Neil Fewings, throughout my career. And lastly, to the two most significant individuals in my life: my amazing wife Nereasha, who has consistently been a rock of support, and my three stunning kids, Rome, Mason, and Harley. I’ve done everything, and I will continue to do everything, for you all. I appreciate everything you’ve done and I adore you all.
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