ADAM JOHNSON’S hat-trick at Fulham was the perfect end to his best and most productive week as a Sunderland player.
It started with a man-of-the-match performance against Carlisle, continued with a game-changing cameo off the bench against Man United and finished with those three goals against Fulham, where he also had his best game in a red-and-white shirt.
Are we finally going to see the best of Johnson on a regular and consistent basis? That’s the question on most Sunderland fans’ lips.
It’s a mystery why such a talented player has struggled so often in Sunderland games and I’m not surprised when I hear Gus Poyet saying one of his main aims is to get the best out of him.
Johnson has certainly looked a different player lately, being far more positive, and against Fulham, his confidence was sky-high.
His finishing has never been his main asset, but his hat-trick was clinical and showed he has goals in his locker.
But it wasn’t all about goals.
He claimed an assist for a clever set piece when Ki Sung-Yeung scored and his all-round game, and crucially his work-rate, were top class.
When Sunderland signed Johnson 18 months ago, he was a regular in the England squads, but has recently been well out of the picture.
But with Theo Walcott’s long-term injury, he is suddenly back on the radar to fill that vacancy.
Of course, to do that, the Fulham game cannot just be a one-off, he has to maintain that form for the rest of the season, but it’s something for him to aim for.
The most important thing though is to continue his good form for Sunderland, playing regularly and helping the team to get out of trouble and to fulfil the potential everyone knows he is.