Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy says Gold Cup duty with Jamaica will prepare Daniel Johnson for the new season
Daniel Johnson is being put through a pre-season with a difference which Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy thinks will stand the midfielder in good stead.
While the PNE squad are putting in the hard yards at Euxton and then in Scotland next week, Johnson is on the other side of the Atlantic in Orlando preparing for the Gold Cup with Jamaica.
Johnson will be away until July 21 minimum, that being when the group stages of the tournament end. Depending on progression in the knock-out rounds, he could be away until early August.
So a good chunk, if not all of PNE’s pre-season work will have to be done without the 28-year-old playmaker.
McAvoy has had little chance to work with Johnson since becoming the top man at North End.
Johnson missed the final seven games of last season with a torn calf.
So the Scot is hoping DJ has a successful Gold Cup and comes back unscathed ready for Championship action.
McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “DJ is a quality player and we’ll miss him when he’s away.
“At the back end of last season he played the Norwich game and got injured in that.
“We didn’t rush him back because we didn’t want to risk him not being ready for us this season.
“Now he has gone to play for Jamaica, hopefully he does well with them and comes back in good shape.
“It’s a great way of getting himself ready for the season, we’ve seen how enjoyable international football can be.
“DJ has got the chance to play in a big tournament and we will all be rooting for him.”
Johnson has only twice previously played for Jamaica but is clearly well thought of.
An initial squad of 60 was chopped down to 23, Johnson firmly in the plans. He is one of eight English-based players in the squad, including Fulham’s Bobby Reid, Liam Moore at Reading, Luton’s recent recruit Amari’i Bell and the currently unattached Ravel Morrison.
Jamaica play their first group game against Suriname next Monday.
A week on Friday they play opponents from a preliminary qualifying stage which is currently being played.
Then they finish the group stage against Costa Rica on Wednesday, July 23.
The Gold Cup is being hosted by the United States, with the final in Paradise, Nevada, on August 1.
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