Benitez defends Johnson
Rafa Benitez has given his backing to Liverpool defender Glen Johnson after his performances for England came under scrutiny in the last week. Despite England recording back-to-back victories against Slovenia and Croatia, with the latter securing their place at the World Cup next summer, Johnson was criticised by some for a few momentary defensive lapses. Both goals England conceded in the 2-1 win over Slovenia and in the 5-1 hammering of Croatia came down their right-hand side with the 25-year-old failing to stop the crosses from wide positions. Despite Benitez acknowledging that his £18million man has room for improvement, the Spaniard believes his attacking strengths cancel out his defensive weaknesses. "I think Glen has been really good from the first day with us and with England," he told Sky Sports News. "You can see that offensive mentality, his deliveries, his crosses were really good so I was surprised with the criticism about his performance the other day. "But he is a good player. He can get better but he knows, he is keen to learn and (Fabio) Capello was supporting him the other day so we will support him. "He is so good attacking that sometimes it is more difficult for the defenders of the other team to stop him than for him to worry about defence. "He is a decent defender, clearly he can improve, he is very good attacking so if you talk about balance he has a very good balance." Meanwhile, Benitez also pointed out that his captain Steven Gerrard is enjoying playing for England despite Capello deploying him out of position on the left-hand side. "He is a very good player, he can play in any position," he added. "He is playing well for England there but whether he plays in the middle or as a second striker or the right side he will play well there. "The team is doing well, they are scoring, so for all the professionals they want to play well and to win, he is playing well and scoring goals so I am sure he will be happy."
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