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England World Cup squad: Steven Gerrard backs Adam Johnson to make final cut
Published : 24 May 2010 13:28:54
Johnson was named in Fabio Capello's initial 30 strong World Cup party which will be trimmed down to a final 23 on June 1 after the friendly internationals with Mexico at Wembley tonight and Japan in Graz on May 30. But the former Middlesbrough player impressed when part of England's training camp in Austria after impressing Capello during the second half of the campaign at Eastlands. The 22-year-old is expected to play at least some part against Mexico and has caught the eye of Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain said: "Adam has looked fantastic in training. He is a typical left-winger, he gets good crosses into the box, and is exciting on the ball. "We will have to wait and see what players Fabio goes with in the final 23. "But I am sure Adam has got a fantastic chance of going to the World Cup because he is a very talented player." Gerrard is fully focused on helping England to achieve glory in South Africa but took time out to express sympathy for Michael Ballack who will miss the finals through injury. It brought back memories for Gerrard of being forced out of the 2002 finals in Japan and South Korea. Gerrard said: "I do feel sorry for Michael Ballack. I know exactly how he is feeling. "Back in 2002, I experienced an injury and wasn't able to take part (in the World Cup). "One of the worse things that can happen to you as a footballer is missing a World Cup. "We know the Germans are very strong, have good players, and I am sure they can cope without him - but he is a fantastic player and will be missed."