Pritchard was tipped to be a star in the making at his former side Tottenham Hotspur, but he ultimately left the club in 2016 following several spells out on loan and just two senior Spurs appearances to his name.


The Black Cats snapped up Pritchard on a free transfer in the summer and despite a slow start to his spell in the north east, he has come alive on recent outings, much to the delight of his boss Johnson.



Pritchard registered an assist on Thursday as Sunderland thumped promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 in a League One clash and Johnson feels the 28-year-old’s physical conditioning has been key to him building a strong partnership with Elliot Embleton on the pitch.


Johnson added that Sunderland roped in Pritchard as a renovation project and hailed him for having a great football brain, along with Embleton.



“We talked a lot at the start of the season about Pritchard and Embleton, and I knew they could play together”, Johnson was quoted as saying by the Northern Echo.


“They’re two great footballers with great football brains.



“I think the key was the physical conditioning of Pritchard.


“That was a renovation project, but we wouldn’t have had him unless it was.”


With their superb win against the Owls, Sunderland finish 2021 as table-toppers, on course to seal an automatic promotion to the Championship.