Johnson on Capello’s radar
Norwich City new recruit Bradley Johnson is already proving to be miles better than his Premier League midfield rivals – and that’s official.
But could he become the seventh player to win a full England cap while on City’s books?
The Canaries’ summer signing from Leeds United has made such an impact on his arrival in the top flight that he has even been tipped for a place in Fabio Capello’s squad.
On the day Paul Lambert’s men took on champions Manchester United at Old Trafford, there were unconfirmed reports that 24-year-old Johnson had been included in the provisional squad for England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, and was likely to get a call-up for the friendly against Spain at Wembley in November.
If covering every blade of grass is a prerequisite for international football, he certainly qualifies.
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Johnson, who joined the Canaries on a free transfer, is now the only player in the Premier League to have covered more than 12 kilometres – nearly eight miles – in every game he has started this season. Figures produced by the EA Sports Player Performance Index show that Johnson clocked up 12.5km in 90 minutes at Old Trafford, more than anyone else on the field. United’s top performer was Scotland international Darren Fletcher with 12.2km.
Those statistics bring echoes of ex-Canary Gary Holt at his peak – the man nicknamed “Three Lungs”, who now forms part of the management team at Colney.
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And another former City midfielder known for his high mileage, Jeremy Goss, who won nine caps for Wales, welcomed the idea that there could be a new international in the making at Carrow Road.
“If it’s true that a Norwich player is being lined up for England international duty, that is great news,” he said.
Goss, renowned for eating up the miles and scoring vital goals in midfield in City teams managed by Dave Stringer and Mike Walker, added: “If anybody runs that distance in a game, it shows his hard work and determination and desire to do well for the team and it’s great credit to him.
“We never had those kind of statistics available when I played but I covered a lot of miles because as a midfield player you have to support the ball and you try to keep hold of it and bring other people into the game.
“In fact Gary Megson used to tell me I ran too much and I should have stood still a lot more.”
Goalkeeper Robert Green was the last man to win a full England cap while playing for City, making his debut against Colombia in 2005.
Defender Dave Watson won the most England caps as a Norwich player, making his debut in the famous 2-0 win in Brazil in 1984, always remembered for John Barnes’ wonder goal. Watson was capped six times by Bobby Robson before moving to Everton in 1986.
City’s England internationals (caps won while with the club)
Phil Boyer (1) v Wales 1976.
Kevin Reeves (1) v Bulgaria 1979.
Mark Barham (2) v Australia 1983, v Australia 1983.
Dave Watson (6) v Brazil 1984, v Uruguay 1984, v Chile 1984, v Mexico 1985, v USA 1985, v Scotland 1986.
Chris Woods (4) v USA 1985, v Egypt 1986, v Israel 1986, v Canada 1986.
Robert Green (1) v Colombia 2005.