One to Watch - Adam Johnson
Name: Adam Johnson
Date of Birth: 14/7/1987
Former Clubs: Middlesbrough, Leeds United, Watford, Manchester City
League Appearances (Goals): 195 (30)
International Appearances (Goals): 12 (2)
Stat of the Day: Adam Johnson has averaged 53 touches per league game in November so far, compared to 41 in September and 43 in October
Player Profile: As an English left-footed midfielder with bags of potential you would have thought Adam Johnson would now be a regular feature in the international side whilst taking the Premier League by storm every weekend. Unfortunately, and as Johnson recently alluded to himself, he mistakenly joined Manchester City in 2010 where his career quickly took a nose-dive and he found himself out on the City trash line of forgotten talent. He has since advised young English players to avoid the bright lights of playing for the Champions - something which Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell are quickly finding out - and concentrate on making a name for yourself elsewhere. Johnson`s Sunderland career has admittedly not taken the Premier League by storm, but the pacey winger is slowly settling into his role at the Stadium of Light, and the player once tipped for great things could well be the one to kick-start Sunderland`s season.
Martin O`Neill worked wonders with wide men Stewart Downing and Ashley Young at Aston Villa and will be hoping he can do the same with Johnson. With Steven Fletcher leading the line for Sunderland, Johnson`s precise and effective crossing should pose plenty of threat for any opposition. QPR`s shambolic attempt at defending set-pieces will be under closer scrutiny on Tuesday with the delivery of both Johnson and counterpart Sebastian Larsson. Harry Redknapp will be hoping that Johnson takes one more game before he finally comes flying out of the blocks at Sunderland.
Snapped up by Middlesbrough`s youth academy as a 12-year old, Johnson made his debut for Boro just five years later in the UEFA Cup. His first five seasons at the club saw him struggle for starts, though; with Stewart Downing the preferred option on the left flank, most of Johnson`s 70 league appearances came as a sub and, with game time limited, he returned just two goals. Loan spells at Leeds and Watford brought five goals from 17 games but Downing`s departure to Aston Villa in 2009-10 afforded him a chance to finally cement a regular role on Teeside.
Plying his trade in the Championship, Johnson`s superb form caught the eye of many suitors. With 11 goals and nine assists in 26 matches, Sunderland were keen on acquiring his services but it was Manchester City who snapped him up on the final day of the January transfer window. Unable to nail down a starting berth, Johnson`s form dipped at the Etihad and his first half-season produced just a single goal from 16 league appearances. With cash to splash, Roberto Mancini bolstered his first-team squad and Johnson, once again, reverted to the role of impact sub, with the Italian critical of his lack of defensive contribution. Johnson managed 11 goals in 73 appearances for City, before Martin O`Neill moved to snap up the midfielder for a fee of £10 million in August.
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