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Johnson ready to set example

28 May 2014 12:47:11

Johnson ready to set example

Glen Johnson may not feel like one of England's older heads but he has taken on a responsibility to look out for the younger players at this summer's World Cup.

The 23-man squad chosen by Roy Hodgson for Brazil is an exciting blend, albeit one with more youthfully exuberant players than experienced professionals.

Johnson is only 29 but falls into the latter camp, given the Liverpool defender is just one of four players boasting 50 or more caps, along with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney.

"When you say it like that, I guess I am one of the older faces around but I don't feel like that," Johnson said. "I feel good and I am naturally fit.

"I think it is important to have the older heads with the experience and some of the fearless lads who don't know what they are stepping into.

"Sometimes it can be a good thing or a bad thing but I am sure the lads will be confident. We have got some great players around the squad and I am sure they can do well."

Johnson has more than twice as many caps as England's next most experienced defender, Phil Jagielka, and heads into his third major international tournament as manager Hodgson's only recognised right-back.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling could slot in there but Kyle Walker's injury means former West Ham, Chelsea and Portsmouth man Johnson's starting berth is all but guaranteed.

"Through the Premier League season, you just try to stay fit and stay in and around the squads as I have done," Johnson said.

"I am probably the only natural right-back but there are plenty of players who can step in and I will keep trying to do my job as always."

Johnson is one of five Liverpool players in the squad, with standby Jon Flanagan boosting those numbers further at the Three Lions' pre-tournament training camps.

The Reds endured a tough end to the season as they let a first league title since 1990 slip away, but the form of their players over the course of the campaign bodes well for England.

"It is great to see a few more Liverpool players in the England squad," Johnson said. "Obviously Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have been brilliant for us.

"Domestically they have been fantastic for us and I am sure they will get their chance to shine out here and play their part.

"Raheem could bring the element of surprise. Not too many players at the World Cup will have played against him so hopefully that can be a positive for us and play into our hands."


PA

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