Bailey blog seven - Johansen's new deal and Mancini's dad
- Mon 16 Jul 2012, 3:05PM
- Posted byChris Bailey
Ask Eirik Johansen how tall he is in feet and inches and he grins and replies ‘taller than Joe Hart but smaller than Costel Pantilimon’.
The answer is typical of the 20-year-old Norwegian who has just been handed a new contract at City that gives him plenty of time to grow into a top class keeper.
Smiling and friendly Johansen is part of a goalkeeping squadron for which diving after banter and footballs both flow easily.
As the last line of defence susceptible to being under the microscope at all times, Eirik and his ilk have to be both confident communicators and resilient - he fits the mould.
“The position the club is in they can buy anyone they want and the fact that I have this new contract suggests they have belief in me that I can become a very good goalkeeper,” declared the youngster who has been at the club for four years. “It is great for my motivation that’s for sure.
“I have the pleasure of working with one of the best keepers (Joe Hart) in the world on a daily basis and you cannot help but learn from him.
But you cannot stand and admire you have to have belief in your own ability that one day you can challenge for the top spot
“Obviously it will take me a couple of years to get there but that’s what I am striving to do. We have a great bunch of lads here and we always have our banter and there is plenty of good humour. Most people think keepers are mad but we are all pretty normal.”
Johansen is currently working hard in the shadows of the Alps at the Austria training camp honing his skills though City fans might not see much of him this season.
“I don’t know yet whether I will go out on loan or stay here but the aim is the same and that is to keep working hard, improving and make City’s first team at some stage," he stressed
“There is a long way to go before the transfer window closes but hopefully I can push myself up the pecking order behind Joe and Costel and then work on challenging them.”
For the record he reckons he is getting on for 6’ 7” tall.
Eirik, like all the other players, was given a day off following the 1-0 defeat by Al Hilal on Friday night and just like everyone else was not all that enamoured with the Austrian weather when it washed out any plans.
Instead anyone wandering into the pharmacy or ice cream parlour in Seefeld might have caught a glimpse of a combination of Carlos Tevez, Kun Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Edin Dzeko, Stefan Savic or Aleks Kolarov – a little surreal if you’d just grabbed the brolly and popped out for a loaf.
The inclement nature of the elements didn’t stop the more intrepid of the backroom staff from heading up the mountains to the Rosshutte a station on one of the highest peaks in the area and one which involves a cable car ride across a valley – it worried a few!
Sunday it was back to work with Roberto Mancini again working hard with the young players as well as the seniors.
An old friend of City’s, Michael Tarnat, who is now one of the overlords of German youth football, popped in to training with his wife to say hello and he saw Faroe Island goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen steal the show two terrific point-blank saves from Vladimir Weiss and Dzeko.
Monday morning brought new haircuts for Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and the manager and a new joke from Pablo Zabaleta
The defender laughed that he was thinking of 'having some put back on'.
The scissor work was conducted by Roberto’s own hairdresser from Italy.
Perhaps Aldo Mancini, Roberto’s dad, who is staying here too, had chosen to have quiet word with Roberto when it came to the locks.
Either way Aldo has been a charming presence in the hotel chatting away with the website staff in sign language and laughs.
He will have a smile on his face, no doubt, when he sees and hears Roberto’s answers to the #AskRoberto that was conducted in the hotel courtyard ahead of the day’s second training session.
‘Manchester City FC Summer Tour 2012 is presented by Abu Dhabi Travellers Welcome’