Johnson or no Johnson? That is the question
By Michael Leape.
On the eve of Fabio Capello announcing his final World Cup 23, speculation is mounting as to which of the current 30 man squad will be receiving the dreaded phone call this coming Tuesday. As the so called fringe players each stake their individual claims, one late comer in particular continues to enhance his growing reputation as potentially England’s biggest wildcard in South Africa this summer. In case you’ve been abstaining from England’s World Cup progress, for some unbeknown reason, the man is question is 23 year old Adam Johnson.
As England prepare for the tournament in the Austrian Alps this week, reporters covering the open training sessions unanimously agreed that Johnson’s ability had been suitably showcased. The Manchester City wide man had been operating primarily on the left wing during practice games, and according to reports continued to impress in the position.
However, the main question mark over the former Middlesbrough starlet has to be his inexperience at international level. Despite a brief foray, only five minutes, against Mexico, his international emergence may have arrived simply too late for Capello to risk a surprise inclusion.
There is little debate over Johnson’s talent. Since arriving at Eastlands in February 2010, he has suitably impressed club manager Roberto Mancini enough to cement a place amongst an array of costly foreign acquisitions. His displays for The Blues have received consistent praise from the media and even his limited involvement in the recent England friendly against Mexico demonstrated his ability to get the crowd out of their seats.
This is potentially where Johnson’s unique ability to create something from nothing may warrant his late inclusion. In the undoubtedly tight games to come, English players who can glide past opposition players are few and far between and coming off the bench in such a game, Johnson could well prove to be a player who can help relieve the burden laid heavy of the shoulders of English talisman Wayne Rooney.
We all remember a certain Mr. Goran-Eriksson and his unfruitful eleventh hour inclusion of a 17 year old Theo Walcott at the last World Cup, so these type of managerial ‘gambles’ are rightly viewed with a hint of scepticism by the majority of English fans. The comparison here though is a good allegory for the two men at the helm. Eriksson; choosing a teenage unknown, untested even at premiership level, and this despite having his main striker not fully fit and Capello; still debating the inclusion of a man who is proven at club level and clearly in possession of a wealth of natural talent and this whilst also happening to specialise in a historically troublesome position within the team.
Johnson or no Johnson, it seems to the diligent Capello at least, has already earned his place on the plane.
Do you think Adam Johnson should be in England’s final 23? Please leave your comments below…
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