Dowie defends Johnson's taxi trip

Last updated at 11:33 06 January 2005

Iain Dowie has defended the character of Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson after he was photographed stumbling into a taxi following an evening out.

Johnson is the leading English marksman in the Barclays Premiership, a double against Aston Villa on Monday taking his tally to 13 for the campaign and helping to lift the Eagles out of the bottom three.

Dowie believes the 23-year-old has the potential to develop into a top-class centre-forward and is in no doubt Johnson is a model professional.

"His character is irreproachable," declared Dowie.

"So for me it is a disappointment that someone seeks to taint his image with something as misguided as that, because that doesn't tell the story.

"It is a shame that people are following a great pro down the street when he has had two days off. I have given him a break, he has worked his socks off.

"What it won't say is that he was with his wife and brother having a meal, he trips over in a cab and they think it is a funny photo.

"It is disrespectful to a quality pro. Andy Johnson is not an archetypal bar-goer."

Dowie quipped: "Is he entitled to go dance with his wife at a do? Yes he is. Does he need some help with his dance moves? Obviously he does.

"We will do some more movement to music in training."

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