Adam Johnson is synonymous with unfulfilled potential and disappointment however, the recent injury to Theo Walcott and a lack of two outstanding wingers, as well as recent good form means that he has a great chance of sneaking into Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup.It would be a remarkable turnaround for a player who has been somewhat unremarkable over the last couple of seasons and not featured for England under Roy Hodgson.
Johnson has always been a good player, but the last couple of years have been frustrating for him and football fans who know how good he can be, yet he either didn’t show it or wasn’t given the opportunity to. His move to Manchester City both helped and hindered his international career, putting him in the Premier League but reducing his playing time. He showed moments of brilliance during his time there but was always going to be up against it at a club with the financial might to buy almost anyone on the planet. It also did’t help that the managers he played under used a system that didn’t accommodate wingers very well. His move to Sunderland has served as a fresh start and his performances have generally been good.
This may be Johnson’s best chance of playing at another major tournament, before Andros Townsend and Raheem Sterling develop into England’s main two wingers; although many people would have them as their starters for the this World Cup. However, both are relatively inexperienced and Townsend has had reduced playing time recently. Whilst Townsend has been a revelation this season and was easily England’s best player for the final two qualification games, he will have to prove himself in the league and England’s upcoming international friendlies. Another thing that will work in Johnson’s favour are his performances over the last few games. He was great against Man Utd, being described as ‘outstanding’ by Gus Poyet, and even better against Fulham on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick and providing the assist for Ki-Sung Yueng’s goal. His recent performances have been those of a player who has sensed an opportunity and wants to take it. Of course, similar to many other players, his place in the England squad is conditional on him playing well, but I would very much like to see him on that plane to Brazil.