After netting his second international goal in the space of four days, England’s greenhorn winger Adam Johnson is – for all the right reasons – attracting considerable attention, thus helping to drag the nation’s spotlight away from his more ‘scandal-mired’ cohorts.
The 23-year-old replaced the injured Theo Walcott (who rolled an ankle in the build up to the opening goal) after ten minutes of England’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Switzerland had elapsed last night, and duly set about stating his case for a regular starting berth with aplomb – punctuating his endeavour with an opportune second-half strike.
Speaking after a genuinely exciting performance, Johnson signalled his intentions to wrestle the right-wing position from Walcott’s flimsy grasp and make it his own;
“The aim is to make a contribution. You’re disappointed not to be starting. You want to do your best when you come on and try to push to get into the starting XI.
I’ve tried to do that and I’ve got a couple of goals to show my efforts but it’s up to the manager.”
Visibly disappointed at finding himself left out of Fabio Capello‘s 23-man World Cup squad in favour of the utterly useless Shaun Wright-Phillips, Johnson was promised an international future by the England management – a future that, by all rights, should now be primed and ready to get under way.
England don’t play again until October 12th, by which time Walcott (who has only suffered a sprain to his ankle) and Aaron Lennon (who is currently awaiting surgery on an long-standing ankle problem) will undoubtedly have been welcomed back in the fold, but given his impressive exploits over the past week, surely it should be Johnson that gets the nod against Montenegro?
Whereas his two aforementioned rivals capitalise solely on their elemental pace, Johnson plays athletically but with an added air of measured intelligence that Walcott and Lennon either don’t possess or consistently fail to display.
Lennon has improved vastly from the brain-dead, egotistical sprinter that first broke into the Tottenham first team four years ago but, in actuality, his game still continually falls down when it comes to releasing the ball – although that said, if corner-winning was a science then we’d probably have a Nobel Prize winner on our hands. It just depends how highly you value corner-kicks I suppose.
Both Lennon and Johnson are 23 years of age and, to my mind, the latter is a far more developed footballing specimen – more attuned to the demands and expectations of the modern international game.
Ordinarily I’d go on to round out the argument by voicing my boundless contempt for Walcott as well, but frankly I’m running out of synonyms for ‘witless’ (if you feel slighted, feel free to go back and read the last couple of paragraphs, substituting all the ‘Lennons’ for ‘Walcotts’ – the gist is the same).
As for Wright-Phillips? Well he can whistle for all I care.