AJ down but not out after axe
Adam Johnson says he will use his omission from the World Cup finals squad to his advantage.
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 02/06/10 4:28pm
Adam Johnson says he will use his omission from Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup finals to his advantage.
Johnson was one of the seven unfortunate bodies to be left at home by Capello, who trimmed his party from 30 to 23 on Tuesday.
But the Manchester City winger said he would not be disheartened by the rejection - and instead vowed to force his way into the Three Lions plans for the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, which gets underway in September.
The 22-year-old admitted he was frustrated not to have been given more time to prove his worth to the England hierarchy after making a six-minute bow in the friendly against Mexico.
But the former Middlesbrough man says his progression from the Championship to the fringes of the World Cup finals provided more than enough satisfaction for the short term.
Johnson told City's official website: "Of course I was a bit down when I got the news and my first thought was that I wish I'd had more of a chance to show what I could do in the two warm-up matches.
"I would have loved the chance to showcase what I can do on the biggest stage of all but I am not going to dwell on it.
"The England management made it clear to me that I have an international future and I am going to have a rest now and then get my head down and get ready to try and work my way into the side for September qualifiers.
"I suppose if you had mentioned the World Cup to me back in December I would have smiled but I had a thought in the back of my mind when I signed for City that if I did well I might have half a chance. I am going to take the positives out of the last two weeks."
Johnson's maiden cap for his country suggested Capello was ready to hand the midfield star a bow at the tournament in South Africa.
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon were included to cover the wing berths, however, leaving the Eastlands man and Theo Walcott to mull over their omissions.
The irony of Johnson missing out was that Man City team-mate Wright Phillips had lost his place to him earlier in the domestic scene, with boss Roberto Mancini preferring the Sunderland-born player in his starting XI.
No hard feelings
But he insisted there was no ill-feeling toward his colleague who made the final cut.
He added: "I am an England fan and in a way I built up so many bonds in the last couple of weeks that I will still feel part of it. I have spoken to Shaun (Wright-Phillips), wished him good luck and told him to go and do well.
"There are certainly no hard feelings towards him. I am delighted for Gareth (Barry) too. He has had a great season and it would have been so cruel for injury to have robbed him of a World Cup.
"The lads are fully capable of winning the World Cup. I think we have a great chance along with maybe two or three other sides.
"Of course we will need a bit of luck along the way that goes with winning anything in sport but no one should write off England's chances."