Gerrard talks up Johnson
Steven Gerrard has praised Adam Johnson, stating he has a 'fantastic chance' of making England's final 23-man squad for the World Cup.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 24/05/10 12:10pm
Steven Gerrard has praised Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, stating he has a 'fantastic chance' of making the final 23-man squad to travel to the World Cup.
The 22-year-old has been a revelation since joining City for £8million in January from Middlesbrough, quickly asserting himself in a starting role and impressing England boss Fabio Capello with a series of excellent performances on both the right and left wing.
His versatility, as well as being naturally left-footed, is also a major attribute to an England squad which has lacked left sided players good enough to start for a number of years.
With former Boro team-mate Stewart Downing not making the cut, Johnson stands a terrific chance of completing a stunning six months by making the trip to South Africa, and should be given an opportunity to impress in England's friendly against Mexico at Wembley on Monday night when he will win his first senior cap.
With Capello publicly praising the player, Liverpool midfielder Gerrard, one of England's most senior members and vice-captain, has also been sufficiently impressed by Johnson's talents too.
"Adam has looked fantastic in training. He is a typical left-winger, he gets good crosses into the box, and is exciting on the ball," said Gerrard.
"We will have to wait and see what players Fabio goes with in the final 23.
"But I am sure Adam has got a fantastic chance of going to the World Cup because he is a very talented player."
Gerrard is no stranger to the heartache of losing out on a World Cup after missing the 2002 tournament due to injury when he was just 21, and showed his sympathies for Germany skipper Michael Ballack, who is out with a broken foot in what will surely be his last chance on the global stage at the age of 33.
"I do feel sorry for Michael Ballack. I know exactly how he is feeling," he added.
"Back in 2002, I experienced an injury and wasn't able to take part (in the World Cup).
"One of the worse things that can happen to you as a footballer is missing a World Cup.
"We know the Germans are very strong, have good players, and I am sure they
can cope without him - but he is a fantastic player and will be missed."