ADAM Johnson reckons attacking full-backs have a key role to play for Sunderland this season, writes Graeme Anderson.
And for that reason, he says the imminent return of Billy Jones is to be welcomed and the long-term loss of fellow full-back Patrick van Aanholt lamented.
Johnson told the Echo he can see the attacking benefits new signings like Jones and van Aanholt can bring to Sunderland’s style of play, especially once they settle in.
And the former Manchester City and England winger believes there is real potential in his own fledgling link-up with Jones down the right flank.
“Bill got a hamstring strain and then Patrick the dislocated shoulder but before that, I think we saw with both of them how good an attacking threat they can be for us,” he said.
“And that’s what you need in the Premier League these days – the full-backs need to be creating as many goals at the rest of the team really.”
Some wingers prefer the defender at their back to concern themselves almost solely with defensive duties, while others welcome a team-mate surging past them up the wing – Johnson falls into the latter category.
“I like it that way – the full-back overlapping” said the 27-year-old.
“It offers the team another point of attack and from a winger’s point of view, you don’t get isolated and stuck out wide either.
“It means your full-back can support and do the wide job and you can sort of float around.
“I think that’s the way it’s going now and that’s better for me because it means I don’t get isolated and not touching the ball, waiting out on the wing.
“Attacking full-backs can be so important to us this season with the way we play and I like the option of getting involved inside too, where you get more of a sight on goal.”
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