Matty Hayward – @MattyHayward96
The Trialist family have had a busy Summer; something they must be used to by now. One of their prodigies, young Chiori, has got himself a contract with the Yellows following a couple of friendly appearances. Let’s see if we can find out a bit about him.
Johnson is a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, which he joined aged eight. Following his release from the Emirates Stadium, CJ signed for cash-strapped Bolton. He never appeared for the Trotters, and ended up trotting out for Welling United in the Conference South. He played there in 2019/20 and 2020/21 until the pandemic hit. His uncle Gary (I guess I should probably state the obvious here, for the avoidance of any doubt, Chiori and Gary aren’t actually related) brought him to Plainmoor following a successful trial period.
I mean, there aren’t any to speak of. It’s a time like this where Pete Johnson’s subscription to Wyscout would come in handy. But I’ve just rewatched the friendly highlights (so you don’t have to) and in them he wore the number 14 and played well at right back, right wing, and in central midfield. He especially impressed me in the Truro game, where he deputised for Ben Wynter.
He’s clearly very versatile, and is a properly decent footballer, as you’d expect from a graduate of Arsenal’s academy. He’s also, from what I’ve seen, not afraid to get stuck in and throw himself into a tackle, as you absolutely wouldn’t expect from a graduate of Arsenal’s academy. Here’s what Gary had to say:
“He’s had a very good pre-season […] he’s a great lad on and off the field, and someone that’s been schooled at Arsenal has always got that in his repertoire. “We need to bring that out of him again, and he is absolutely willing to do that. He’s also a utility player – he probably doesn’t know that himself yet. He plays right-back, he can play left-back, he can play centre midfield, he can play wide. People will see the best of him when we’ve got him to full fitness.”
Most Likely To
- Be compared with previous Yellows utility player and legend Matt Buse at every opportunity
- Win out in that comparison
- Be heavily leant on as our inevitable injury crisis hits and we suddenly need him to cover three positions
Least Likely To
- Be a star from the off. Gary has said he’s not 100% fit, we’ve just signed him from Welling, and there are probably players ahead of him in the immediate pecking order. Be patient.
- Be bothered about that. He’ll have had his role explained to him, and will know he’ll get his opportunity when the time is right
For my tuppence, Chiori looks a good signing. One would assume he doesn’t walk straight into Gary’s starting XI plans, but his versatility means that we suddenly have a third choice left back, a second choice right back, a somethingth choice central midfielder, and a handy winger all in one player, and that player is himself a gifted footballer with good feet and a good attitude and will be looking to knock on the door in each of those positions. We saw last season how important squad depth is over the course of 40-odd Conference games, and players like Johnson will undoubtedly play an important part. It’s obviously a bit of a punt given his lack of first-team experience – as is the case with a few other of this year’s signings – but GJ is old enough and ugly enough to be trusted to take these sorts of gambles.
COYY – Matty