Football - Johnson intends to stay combative

Midfielder Bradley Johnson is happy to live up to his "Mr Nasty" tag if it helps keep Norwich in the Barclays Premier League.

PA Sport

Johnson, 25, returns to boyhood club Arsenal as Chris Hughton's squad look for a positive result to push them a step closer top-flight survival.

During last season's 3-3 draw at Emirates Stadium, Johnson drew criticism for a challenge on Gunners full-back Bacary Sagna, which left the defender with a broken leg and out of Euro 2012.

When Paul Lambert signed Johnson from Leeds in July 2011, he admitted the combative midfielder had "a little bit of a nasty streak in him".

Johnson - whose clash with QPR's Joey Barton last January saw his opponent sent off for an alleged headbutt - maintains he is not a malicious player, but will not shy away from the heat of battle.

"I can't talk for any other player but yes, I like a challenge. I like a competitive game," said Johnson.

"Obviously Paul Lambert mentioned when he signed me that I have a bit of a nasty streak in me, but I work hard and I want to win, so that means every tackle I go into I want to win the ball.

"People might think it's malicious, but it's not. I want to win, so it should come out as that."

Johnson added: "Obviously I don't set out to hurt people when I go and play, but tackling is part of my game and if I caught him (Sagna) and it is a recurrence of his broken leg, then obviously I am sorry about that.

"I didn't go out maliciously to hurt anyone. I don't do that. I am just going to concentrate on the game on Saturday and help Norwich get three points."

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