The Youth Investment
Following the announcement Denny Johnstone has moved on from Blues I must admit I feel a touch disappointed in it all. Whilst the addition of Johnstone to the Blues Development team wasn’t exactly a huge signing it did signify something that we all liked about the Clark era, the development from within and the emphasis on continued investment in the younger generation.
Whilst at the time Blues did struggle with brining outside players permanently into the First Team our Development Squad bridged this gap and although it was likely more out of necessity the increased dependence on self-reliance was important. In my view it still is.
Johnstone joined Blues from Celtic much to the upset of one or two Scotsmen that felt Johnstone would be the next big thing. He made two appearances for Blues under Clark and was subsequently loaned out by Rowett amassing a total of 21 goals in all competitions during his loan spells at Macclesfield Town, Cheltenham Town, newly promoted Burton Albion and Scottish Championship’s Greenock Morton.
Johnstone has proved at 21 years of age he can score goals in the lower leagues and you would have to suspect that a bit of TLC from the club would see his career progress further. He’s likely to be a player that would find more success in Scotland although he isn’t shy in the English leagues either and I feel he would have been a useful addition to the squad if he perhaps spent the start of the season on loan and then made one or two late substitutions for Blues in the latter half of the season.
Whilst he has been sold for an undisclosed fee and “various add-ons” you would think that given Blues lack of attacking options holding onto a rising talent may have been worth the wait. Blues have relied heavily on Clayton Donaldson and this reliance began to wear thin towards the end of the season as teams clocked onto Blues dependence on the Jamaican international with Wes Thomas having now departed and Brock-Madsen away for the Olympics Blues reliance on Donaldson will increase unless another striker is brought in.
I guess the other point would be that as Blues have added Jack Storer to the Development Squad the club overall must have felt that Johnstone just wasn’t quite up to the cut. Perhaps the cost to keep the youngster along with the addition of Storer meant Blues were in a better position all around if they sold.
It’s been a while since we saw youngsters push through, the days of needing them to plug the gaps has passed but I just hope the benefits they brought aren’t forgotten. Sometimes it’s a big a risk to bring in a player from outside of England to play than it is to bring through your own talent.
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