Johnson - England worthy of respect

22 June 2012 12:47

Glen Johnson has suggested England deserve more respect for their European Championship exploits.

Roy Hodgson's men defied the doubters to win their group in Poland and Ukraine and set up a quarter-final against Italy on Sunday. England have flourished despite going into the tournament having trained only a handful of times under new manager Hodgson.

Asked if they warranted more respect from their critics, Liverpool full-back Johnson said: "Yeah, I guess so. But, inside the camp, no-one thinks like that. It's only people outside the camp. So, it's not really important."

Johnson has had more than his fair share of doubters at both club and international level. Yet, despite right-back having been arguably the most fiercely-contested position in the team for the past two years, he has once again made it his own when it matters most.

The 27-year-old said it was down to others to judge whether he was now the undisputed first choice.

But he added: "I played all the games in the World Cup, I played the majority of the games from then to now. I've played all the games here, so I'd have to be in contention, wouldn't I? Every player wants to have a run in any side they play in.

"No-one wants to come in for one game then not play for a few months and come in for another. If you're going to play, you want to play almost every possible opportunity."

Johnson is one of two Liverpool players certain to start against Italy, the other being captain Steven Gerrard.

"Steven has been a fantastic player for many, many years," Johnson said. "But, with the armband, I think he feels he needs to step up just that tiny bit more, and I think he's done it more than anyone so far."

England will run out in Kiev on Sunday aiming to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time in 16 years.

Source: PA