AJ hopes to cement England spot
Adam Johnson is optimistic his move from Manchester City to Sunderland can cement his place in Roy Hodgson's England plans. With Ashley Young ruled out by a knee injury, Johnson was named in Hodgson's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine next month. The winger was also selected for the friendly win over Italy a fortnight ago, which must have made it even more frustrating that he was overlooked for Euro 2012. As the 25-year-old was also axed from Fabio Capello's provisional World Cup squad in 2010, Johnson felt it was time to bite the bullet, sacrificing the chance of further silverware for the opportunity to play regularly. "I know the England manager came out and said he wants his players to be playing. Hopefully I can play," said Johnson. "I started in the last game against Italy so hopefully its looking brighter for me now with England." It is a conundrum so many of Hodgson's squad face. Andy Carroll is the obvious example but there were plenty of other players in the 24-man squad he named yesterday who are in the same position. Chelsea duo Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand for a start, while Danny Welbeck's opportunities at Manchester United might be restricted once Wayne Rooney recovers from his gashed thigh. Indeed, despite Rooney's absence, there is no recall for Aston Villa forward Darren Bent so Jermain Defoe is the only one of Hodgson's striking quartet who could be regarded as first choice at their club. Hodgson would doubtless argue Welbeck and Carroll in particular served him well in Ukraine this summer, and whilst there is more youth in England ranks as teenagers Jack Butland and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in, along with Bertrand, there is plenty of experience as well. As anticipated, John Terry has been chosen, although the neck injury that kept him out of Chelsea's Premier League win over Newcastle last Saturday will need to be assessed once he has reported for duty. In midfield, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick are all named along with Manchester United youngster Tom Cleverley, who made his debut against Italy earlier this month. With Butland and John Ruddy selected as back-up keepers to first-choice Joe Hart, it means Rob Green has lost his place as understudy from Euro 2012, completing a bad 24 hours for QPR new-boy following Julio Cesar's arrival as part of the Loftus Road revolution. Kyle Walker, who missed out on the European Championships due to a broken toe, has been named at right-back along with Liverpool's Glen Johnson.
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