Ex-Reading No.8 Johnson impresses for EnglandBy Ted Goodhew
June 13, 2012
Ex-Reading back-row forward Tom Johnson paid tribute to his former club before making an impressive full international debut in England’s 22-17 defeat at the hands of South Africa on Saturday.
Johnson has had a very unusual route to gaining his first cap.
Most players come through club academies and the England age-group systems.
But Johnson played for Reading in the 2004-5 season when he was a student at Oxford Brookes University.
After that he moved to Coventry, who were higher in the league system. He was then picked up by Championship side Exeter Chiefs and was a mainstay in their rise to the Premiership.
Now he has been recognised for consistently fine performances there and Johnson said that he has learnt a lot from every club he has played for.
His mentor at Reading was Scottish international Alastair McHarg.
While he was at Reading Johnson showed all the right attributes in terms of talent and work-rate on the field and in training.
He was also known as a thoroughly pleasant person, popular with everyone at the club.
Johnson was an ever-present in his season with Reading, scoring 17 tries in 26 league games and two cup matches.
He scored four tries in a game twice – against Dings Crusaders and Lydney, both at home.
Johnson is the second ex-Reading player to have made it to England’s senior side in recent years.
Ex-Reading colt and first-team player Ayoola Erinle, who last summer joined Nottingham from Biarritz, made a few appearances under Martin Johnson.