This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Adam Johnson happy to swap negatives for positives with Sunderland move

Discussion in 'News Archive' started by admin, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. admin

    admin Administrator

    Likes Received:
    Mar 11, 2006
    <div class="track"><img alt="" src="" width="1" height="1" /></div><p class="standfirst">The England winger said the confidence Martin O'Neill instils in players is a welcome change from the chillier regime at Man City</p><p>Adam Johnson <a href="" title="">agreed to swap Manchester City for Sunderland</a> when he realised Martin O'Neill made him feel special. "As soon as I spoke to Martin he gave me confidence," said the £10m England winger. "He's a manager I can have a good relationship with. He made me feel wanted."</p><p>And for Johnson, that approach is in clear contrast to the experience of working under Roberto Mancini's colder, more distant regime at the Etihad Stadium, where the lack of communication with City's title-winning Italian manager ultimately proved counter-productive.</p><p>"It's always nice to be praised as well as criticised," Johnson said. "You can only take so much criticism and no praise as a player, it doesn't matter who you are. I'm sure the gaffer will tell me when I've done something wrong here, but you have to have that balance."</p><p>An imbalance in Johnson's working life has drawn him back to his native north-east. "The last few weeks, I've done a lot of thinking," said the 25-year-old who won Premier League and FA Cup winners' medals in Manchester but spent far too many games warming the bench.</p><p>"Leaving City, leaving the champions, was one of the biggest decisions of my life, but hopefully coming here will make me a better player. Martin O'Neill doesn't want us to just be a mid-table team – and I want to play week in, week out. Coming here, I know I can enjoy playing football again."</p><p>The latter words were heartfelt. "Being dropped after playing well was difficult at City," he said. "There were games when I deserved to be playing, but obviously there is a lot of money being spent on world-class foreign players and, relatively speaking, I wasn't a massive signing.</p><p>"I think it was always going to be difficult for me to get a run in the team, no matter how I did. There are a few other players still in that same boat now. I was disappointed I didn't play more. I felt I could have given a lot more. I was capable of more, but it didn't work out."</p><p>Johnson's suspicions that the Etihad was perhaps not a true meritocracy were heightened by a lack of explanations from the manager. Asked if he was given reasons for being dropped, he replied: "No, not really. We didn't really speak."</p><p>So was Mancini overly harsh on the former Middlesbrough winger he signed for £7m in January 2010? "I don't know," said Johnson. "I think all the lads there would say that. That is how he was with certain players, the other players couldn't say anything to him. It was obviously difficult, but he demanded the best from his players and that will stand me in good stead coming here. It has progressed me as a player."</p><p>Johnson hopes the responsibility of being Sunderland's biggest star will accelerate his progress further. "I think I probably played my best football at Middlesbrough, when I was that sort of guy," he said. "When you go to City, you're playing with world-class players across the pitch, so I didn't have that same responsibility. I don't mind having that sort of pressure.</p><p>"I had the choice to sign for City or Sunderland when I left Boro, but looking back, I think anyone in my position would have signed for City at the time," said Johnson, who was born and brought up in Easington, just down the road from his new club.</p><p>"City were the team to go to and I had some great days there. The players are great and most of the staff were brilliant with me. It's a fantastic club and I hope they win the league again. I'd do it again if I had the choice because I won the Premier League and the FA Cup and that was my aim as a kid growing up. At least when I finish playing I can say I've done that."</p><p>He cannot say he was part of England's Euro 2012 adventure and acknowledges that his omission from Roy Hodgson's squad hurt. "It was difficult, it was tough," Johnson said. "Hopefully I'll get another chance, though. Hopefully I'll be going to Brazil for the next World Cup."</p><p>Johnson believes he is now working for the man who can help him get there. "The other night when I made my debut [at home to Morecambe in Tuesday's Capital One Cup win] Martin O'Neill gave me confidence and freedom," said the winger. "It was as if I'd had the chains taken off me."</p><div class="related" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"><ul><li><a href="">Sunderland</a></li><li><a href="">Martin O'Neill</a></li><li><a href="">Manchester City</a></li><li><a href="">Roberto Mancini</a></li><li><a href="">England</a></li></ul></div><div class="author"><a href="">Louise Taylor</a></div><br/><div class="terms"><a href=""></a> &copy; 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our <a href=",,933909,00.html">Terms & Conditions</a> | <a href="">More Feeds</a></div><p style="clear:both" /><img width='1' height='1' src='' border='0'/>
    <p><a href=""><img src="" border="0" ismap="true"></img></a><br/>
    <a href=""><img src="" border="0" ismap="true"></img></a></p><img src="" height="1" width="1"/>


Share This Page