Preston North End boss Alex Neil refused to discuss the future of midfielder Daniel Johnson after the reported Rangers target was dropped for their Championship season opener.
One of the Lancashire club’s leading lights, creative midfielder Johnson sat out the club’s 1-0 home defeat to Swansea amid claims of a £2m Rangers bid [David Anderson].
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) September 12, 2020
Naturally this had the local press scrambling for some insight with Johnson considered a key member Alex Neil’s side with the Jamaican impressing last season.
Johnson, 27, hit twelve goals and laid on eight assists in 33 Championship games last season and was part of the reason why Preston managed an admirable 9th place finish.
But when Neil was asked questions about the player’s future he was not so forthcoming with the situation surrounding the midfielder.
When asked by BBC Lancashire if he could update them as to why Johnson wasn’t on the team sheet BBC Neil simply said “no”.
"No DJ on the sheet today, can you update us as to why?"
"No."#Preston North End boss Alex Neil declines to comment on the whereabouts of midfielder Daniel Johnson.
— BBC Lancashire Sport (@BBCLancsSport) September 12, 2020
When pressed on the subject by the Lancashire Post, Neil added:
“I’m not going to discuss any individual player’s situation, that isn’t fair.
“People will jump to their own conclusions and don’t really understand the situation.
“I’m not going to comment on it.”
Lancashire Live journalist George Hodgson also claims Alex Neil refused to discuss the situation concerning the player.
Three people asked questions on DJ. Manager did not want to discuss him.
— George Hodgson (@GHodgsonSport) September 12, 2020
Johnson’s absence from the Preston North End squad and Neil’s suspiciously tight-lipped comments come amid reported interest from Rangers and comments from Steven Gerrard.
The Rangers gaffer admitted he remains on the hunt for “at least” one more player in the Ibrox engine room.
“In the engine room we need one at least to help us over the course,” said Gerrard [RangersTV].
“We know we’re expected again to qualify in Europe and play every Thursday, every Sunday.
“You can’t do that unless you’ve got the numbers and we’re one short in midfield.”