Since joining Manchester City from Middlesbrough on 1st February this year, Adam Johnson has burst onto the scene with a series of energetic and skillful displays on the wings under the stewardship of Roberto Mancini. To such an extent has the 22 year-old showcased his substantial talents at Eastlands that many are tipping Johnson for a surprise call-up to Fabio Capello’s England squad for the World Cup. What a fairytale that would be for the boy from the north east.
A naturally left-sided player, Johnson came through the ranks at Middlesbrough, making his senior debut in the UEFA Cup in 2005 before becoming a regular member of the first team, establishing himself as the natural successor to Stewart Downing on Teeside. However, when Downing was injured during the second-half of the 2008/09 season, Johnson finally got his chance to shine as a regular in the Boro’s starting eleven, an opportunity he snatched with both hands. After making himself a key member of Gareth Southgate’s squad, it was at the start of the current campaign that Johnson really made his mark on the English game, scoring 11 and assisting 5 goals, playing a large part in Middlesbrough’s ascent to the top end of The Championship before the arrival of Gordon Strachan and his departure to Manchester in the winter.
Despite fears that his career might stall at Eastlands with so much competition for places, Johnson made a flying start to his time with Manchester City, scoring and finishing as man-of-the-match in his first start against Sunderland. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength, demonstrating exceptional technical ability on the ball as well as a fierce turn of pace that has made him a daunting prospect for full-backs up and down the Premier League.
If Capello does select Johnson in his party of 23 there won’t be many complaints from the English footballing public. This is surely a player with great success ahead of him, success that might just start in South Africa this summer.