MICHAEL JOHNSON was expected to be the future of England’s midfield but now works as an estate agent.
The ex-Manchester City star burst onto the Premier League scene in 2006 as a teenager.
But Johnson’s progress was halted by persistent injuries.
He sustained regular abdominal problems and had to undergo a double-hernia operation while trying to nail down a place in the starting XI.
Further knee issues followed and he ended up playing just 45 times for Man City and twice for England‘s Under-21s.
Johnson struggled to cope with the pressure put on him and turned to drink as he then dealt with knee and hip injuries.
He was twice arrest for drink-driving in the year leading up to his release from Man City in 2012.
Johnson hung up his boots at the age of 24 and he also suffered with his mental health, twice entering The Priory.
Micah Richards played with the now 35-year-old estate agent while he was at the Etihad.
“He was tenacious, he could pass, he could arrive in the box late. He was the best natural player at Man City since Colin Bell.
“He got paid a lot of money at a young age and we’d go out on a Saturday and on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.
“He would be the best player in training the next day, he was fitter, as strong as anyone and technically as good.
“But he got injured and when he returned he wasn’t the same player. His posture wasn’t the same afterwards.
“He got back – but he started drinking and there is no way back for him as a footballer.
“But he is happy with just being an estate agent. His life is a lot better.
“Some players just can’t deal with the physical and mental demands that the game puts on you.
“The papers every week would be saying he’s so great – but really inside, he wasn’t strong enough to deal with that at the time.”