Clarke compliments for Johnson
Liverpool coach Steve Clarke has praised Glen Johnson for his 're-energised' performances.
Last Updated: 09/02/11 2:21pm
Liverpool coach Steve Clarke has praised Glen Johnson for his 're-energised' performances on the left of defence.
The England international is set to start Wednesday night's friendly match against Denmark in his traditional position at right-back.
But, at club level, Johnson has been forced onto the opposite flank due to the form of England Under 21 defender Martin Kelly and Liverpool have since won four successive matches and have not conceded in almost 400 minutes.
The switch in positions and tactics, with Johnson and Kelly also operating as wing-backs, has helped the club climb to sixth in the Premier League and manager Kenny Dalglish and Clarke have received the bulk of the praise.
But the latter thinks that Johnson deserves credit, as Jose Mourinho's former right-hand man at Chelsea said: "You don't become an international regular for England if you are not a good player.
"I worked with Glen at Chelsea and he is always a pleasure to work with.
"I think he has been re-energised with the change and he has switched to the left and proved he can play just as well there as he can on the right.
"It's always good to have adaptable players and when you have people like that who do well for you every week no matter what position they are in then it's a great position for the manager and the coaching staff."
Clarke is also optimistic about another former Chelsea playmaker, Joe Cole, who has endured a disappointing debut season at Liverpool and has missed the last two matches with a knee injury.
"He's not joined in with the group (for training) yet but he is on his way back and hopefully before the end of the season we will get a glimpse of the real Joe Cole," said the Scot.
"If Joe can get himself fit and focused on the pitch then he will certainly be a big asset to this squad."
This week's international games have interrupted Liverpool's best run of the season, but Clarke is hopeful it will not have an adverse effect on the improvements which have been made under Dalglish.
"It's not ideal having the international friendlies at a time when you want all of your players together, and especially when you are on a good run," he said.
"We are hoping the international break doesn't break the momentum a little bit because we have players going to different parts of the world and we hope they will come back fit and healthy."