Euro 2012 qualifying

Adam Johnson wants to become England stalwart

September 6, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

England goalscorer Adam Johnson wants to make up for the disappointment of missing out on World Cup selection by becoming a stalwart for his country.

Jermain Defoe, Adam Johnson
SoccernetJermain Defoe and Adam Johnson celebrate the latter's first goal for England

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Johnson has revealed how hard he was hit when he found out from Fabio Capello's right hand man Franco Baldini that he would not be part of the final 23 for South Africa. But he experienced the other side of the coin on Friday night by scoring on his competitive debut for his country in a Euro 2012 qualifier with Bulgaria at Wembley.

Johnson said: "I just got a phone call from Franco Baldini saying 'sorry you did really well but you are not in the World Cup squad, so enjoy your holidays'. It was pretty sharp. I didn't really feel like talking. That was it really. But he said he would see me in squads in the future. If you had said to me when I was playing in the Championship in January, that I would be in the initial 30 for the World Cup squad I probably would have took that.

"But, obviously knowing I was in good form and City were playing well and I was playing every game...that was the only disappointment (about not being selected). I thought I was playing reasonably well. Maybe it came too soon, but I didn't see it that way at the time. Obviously a few of my team-mates were there and I'm an England fan so I wanted to see them do well.''

Johnson was overjoyed with his goal against the Bulgarians but knows he has plenty of work to do to establish himself long term.

He said: "Scoring my first goal was just a massive moment for me. It's obviously put the game to bed (at 3-0) which was another good thing. I've had a lot of texts saying it was a fluke! I haven't seen it again, but I'm sure I will. I'm sure my mum and dad have recorded it. I'm sure I'll get to see it. But I have to keep going and I can't just settle on my laurels because I've scored one goal for England. I want to push on and get as many caps as I can.

"My family, not just my mates, will keep my feet on the ground. Everyone has always been like that around me but I think I will know myself if I get too carried away or anything like that. I just think you have to learn you have to make a lot of sacrifices to do well. It's been the same since I was a young age.

"All your mates are going out and you have to go training. I think it's brought up in you from a very young age that you have to go training on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights when everybody else is out and stuff. It's jut something you have to get used to if you want to make it as a professional footballer. But nights like Friday make it worth it. Moments like that, only a few people get to experience, so it's all worth it in the end.''