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JAMIE REDKNAPP: Adam Johnson made superb impact for England

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09 Sep 2010 00:03:54

JAMIE REDKNAPP: Adam Johnson made superb impact for England

You could just see the Swiss left back thinking after 11 minutes: 'What a result... no more of that Theo Walcott running past me.' Then on came Adam Johnson. Johnson doesn't look quick, because of that long, loping stride pattern. But he's gone before you know it. He keeps defenders guessing - they are uncertain whether he will pass and move, go inside or outside, dribble with the ball or push it past them and accelerate. He confuses them. What is he going to do next? It's a strong positive in his game that he has such variety; two good feet and he is happy travelling inside into traffic on to hisstronger left foot, or going outside and heading for the crossing zone. Wing wonder: Johnson rounds goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to score England's second goal He can go all the way to the by-line, too, rather than crossing from too deep, but he can mix up his crossing position, too. He is not the same player, but he reminds me of Steve McManaman with his running style and energy, but he also has the ability to shake his hips and turn a full back inside out, like Chris Waddle used to. I was in the stadium in Basle for Sky on Tuesday and I just love the way he came on to the pitch. It's not easy coming on as a substitute early, because the game hasn't settled. Nobody wants to be sub, but when you come on later in the game, you might at least have seen opportunities you can exploit or sensed tiring legs in the opposition. He came on and immediately made an impact. It was as if he had told himself: 'I am going to seize the moment and make a difference.' He produced a turn, like a Cruyff turn, when he spun and danced around the poor full back, who must have thought: 'Here we go again.' It was a performance full of confidence and if Fabio Capello considers that first half display the best of his 31 games as England manager, then Johnson certainly contributed to that. It makes you wonder why he didn't go to the World Cup... He is fortunate to be playing with Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry, who can both hit those raking passes from left to right - the earlier the winger gets the ball, the more options he has, especially if he is being double marked, which may come later if Johnson continues his progress. I'm not sure on which wing he will end up, because it is fashionable to play wingers on the opposite side right now, so they can cut in and shoot - and he does have goals in him. Right now, James Milner and Ashley Cole look like they will play together for years down the left, because Milner has the discipline to fill in at full back when Ashley goes driving forward. Happy days: Johnson celebrates his goal with Wayne Rooney So that leaves Johnson versus Walcott on the right side for a place in Capello's team; two very different players, who show there is young talent in the English game, after all. You have to give credit to Manchester City for signing Johnson from Middlesbrough. They were quicker than anyone else to spot his potential. And, with six City players on the pitch at the end of the game, they are doing their bit for the England team. There wasn't a queue of clubs after him when he was leaving Boro; he had beenbehind Stewart Downing and, even though he went on loan to Leeds and then Watford, where he scored five goals in 12 games, there wasn't a stampede. Told you: Redknapp beat the drum for Johnson in August 2009 (above) and again last month (below) He got into the Middlesbrough team regularly at the start of last season and, although a few of us noted his emergence in the Championship, City moved in without delay. I know one manager very well who wishes he had signed him! He will only get better, too, playing around outstanding players at City, where he faces stiff competition for his place. He's not cocky, he comes across as a decent lad and he has the attitude on the pitch that says: 'Give me the ball and I will look after it.' Enlarge   City slicker Johnson aims to nail down regular starting place with EnglandAs six Manchester City players help to beat Switzerland Sportsmail brings you a brief history of Club EnglandMANCHESTER CITY FC


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