Daniel Johnson backs himself to be Preston's main man from the spot
Daniel Johnson believes he's cemented his spot as Preston North End's number one penalty taker after bagging the winner against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Jamaican midfielder kept his cool from 12 yards late on to secure three opening day points in Alex Neil’s first game in charge.
Jordan Hugill was felled in the box 11 minutes from time with Johnson stepping up and sending Keiren Westwood the wrong way as the Lilywhites kicked off the new Championship campaign with a deserved victory.
MATCH REPORT: PNE 1-0 Sheffield WednesdayREACTION: Alex Neil delighted with victory in first game in chargeIt came eight days after a successful penalty in the final friendly at Fleetwood, the 24-year-old having also been on target from the spot against Blackburn last season.
“The Fleetwood one probably did help and I was just confident I was going to score,” said Johnson.
“I had two in training on Friday and so maybe they helped too.
“I went both ways and managed to score both of them.
“I do practice them in training, me and the boys have a little competition.
“Jordan (Hugill) fancies himself, Gally (Paul Gallagher) and Callum (Robinson) do too but I think I’ve stamped my authority on it.”
Johnson’s penalty taking style is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The midfielder, who scored four goals last season, adopts a stuttering run-up and waits for the goalkeeper to move in a battle of nerve.
“I’ve just always been comfortable taking penalties like that,” Johnson said.
“I just watch the ‘keeper and see which way he goes and luckily for me I could see he was going to my left so I was always going to go to my right.”
The goal saw North End pick up their first opening day win since 2008 and hand Neil the perfect start to life in the Deepdale hotseat.
After a battling first-half display the host were well worth their three points, coming close on a number of occasions before Johnson stepped up to seal the points.
“It was very important for us to get off to a good start,” he said.
“The gaffer told us to go out there and express ourselves, stop them from playing and do what we do when we got the ball.
“That’s what we did today and that’s why we deserved the three points.
“It’s a really good start and hopefully we can carry it on.”