Hope for Sunderland’s Johnson as op ko’s World Cup rival

Sunderland's Adam Johnson.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson.
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ADAM JOHNSON’S World Cup hopes may have received a major boost after Spurs winger Andros Townsend was ruled out of the summer’s tournament.

Since the turn of the year, Johnson has produced his most consistent run of form in a Sunderland shirt, with his 10 goals taking him to the top of the Black Cats’ scoring charts.

But that was not sufficient for the 26-year-old to earn a recall to the 30-man England squad for last month’s friendly against Denmark.

England boss Roy Hodgson insisted the door was not closed on Johnson for the World Cup though and his chances of going to Brazil have now been improved with the news that fellow wideman Townsend requires surgery on an ankle injury.

That will keep Townsend sidelined for 10 weeks and rule him out of participation in the World Cup.

Townsend, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Adam Lallana were the wingers included in the squad against Denmark.

But with Theo Walcott out through injury too, it could open the door for Johnson to return to the international frame for the first time since October 2012.

Johnson’s prospects may not be helped though after he was critical of the bias towards players on the books of the Premier League’s top eight, following his omission from Hodgson’s last squad.

“All my caps came when I was at (Manchester) City,” said the £10million man last month.

“Sometimes I got picked when I wasn’t playing. Now I’m playing more and I can’t get a cap.

“It’s just a fact. It’s not me being sour. Some of the players, if they weren’t playing for the big clubs, wouldn’t be anywhere near it.

“I came to Sunderland to play more, rather than thinking about England. But some games I wasn’t even on the bench at City but I was still in the England squad.”

Hodgson will name his squad for Brazil on May 12, the day after the Premier League season ends. He is expected to have seven players on standby ahead of the final deadline of June 2.

England kick off their World Cup campaign on June 14 against Italy in the Amazonian city of Manaus before taking on Uruguay and Costa Rica.