ADAM JOHNSON admits it will be a strange experience returning to Manchester City tomorrow as he tackles former employers for the first time in his career.
Johnson spent two and a half years at the Etihad Stadium before his £10million summer switch to the Stadium of Light – lifting the Premier League and FA Cup during his 97 appearances for City.
Despite the 25-year-old’s relationship with Roberto Mancini souring towards the end of his time in Manchester, the former Middlesbrough winger is excited at the prospect of tomorrow lunchtime’s encounter after returning from a thigh injury in Sunderland’s win over Wigan last weekend.
Johnson told the Echo: “It was a good win against Wigan and obviously City is a tough place to go and it’ll be nice to be involved in that.
“I’ve never been back to an old club in my career.
“I had great times there, winning leagues and FA Cups. I’ll always see it as a big part of my career.
“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing a lot of old friends there.”
Johnson, yesterday included in the England squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, has endured a stop-start beginning to his Sunderland career since arriving from City.
A thigh injury sustained ahead of his Black Cats’ Premier League bow at Swansea, and then further aggravated on international duty, ruled him out of Sunderland’s draws with Liverpool and West Ham.
Although Johnson returned for Sunderland’s first league victory of the campaign, the Easington-born wideman admitted he was still short of match fitness.
Instead, it has been fellow summer signing Steven Fletcher who has taken the plaudits, with the Scotland striker looking to continue his 100 per cent scoring streak tomorrow after bagging five in his first four outings for the Wearsiders.
Johnson added: “Fletcher’s on fire at the moment.
“Whenever he gets in front of goal, you always think he’s going to score.
“That’s what he was brought here to do and he’s doing that.
“He’s having one of those great spells where you just know he’s going to score.
“He’s a natural scorer and that’s what he’s doing.”