Adam Johnson on the plane to Rio ?

The name Adam Johnson can bring up many mixed opinions on his worth as a footballer. Words like “talented” and “skilful” are often used, but matched with criticisms like “inconsistent” and “lazy”. He is a player that divides opinion whenever he plays. 
When young Johnson burst onto the scene at Middlesborough, making his début at 17, many talked about him as a player with huge potential. He was part of a team that had won the FA Youth Cup with Boro in 2004, and he played a key role in that triumph. Once he settled in the first team, he immediately impressed the fans at the Riverside stadium. He is blessed with incredible natural talent, and his skill and dribbling abilities are often too much to handle for even the best defenders the Premier League has to offer. After some fine performances for Boro, and at loan spells with Watford and Leeds, he made a big-money move to newly-rich Manchester City, and became a crucial part of a City team that contained the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez. He began to blossom at the start of his career in Manchester, and he made his England début in a game against Hungary just a few months after joining City. His career was booming, and he looked as though he could become an excellent attacking player.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan. When Roberto Mancini came in as manager of City, Johnson fell down the first-team pecking order. Mancini spent big on players like David Silva, James Milner, Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli. The competition was phenomenal as City’s megabucks owner Sheikh Mansour looked to make City a major European powerhouse. This was not good news for Johnson. He was a very talented player, but he was only 21 at the time, and just wasn't developed enough to compete with the world-class players in the City squad. There were also rumours that his relationship with Mancini wasn't great, and the Italian accused Johnson of being a a lazy trainer. Adam found himself playing less and less, mainly featuring in cup games or substitute appearances in the League, and with every transfer window came another top-class player ahead of Johnson in Mancini’s plans. Things weren't looking good for the winger. He was dropped from the England squad, and saw himself being pushed out of City. However, his undeniable talent never went away, and in his last season in Manchester he recorded an impressive 7 goals in 38 appearances, many of which were off the bench. 
Understandably, Johnson was becoming frustrated at City. A few clubs across England started to notice his situation, and soon Man. City were receiving bids. Sunderland eventually won the race, and signed Johnson for £10 million. It was a huge transfer fee, but then- Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill was sure of his talents. Johnson settled in well at the Stadium Of Light, and he was finally getting the regular playing time he so badly craved. He put in some memorable performances for Sunderland after signing, and he topped off a great start with a goal in a fantastic win over his former club Manchester City. Johnson was now out of the spotlight compared to his time at City, where he was often being called a flop and a disappointment, and he was getting the game time he needed to reach his potential. He has improved steadily at Sunderland, and is now their top scorer so far this season (2013/2014). Johnson’s ability brings an extra dimension to the teams he plays in, so If his impressive form continues, and England’s lack of creativity continues too, a call up for Johnson may not be as far away as it seems. 


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