Poyet: Johnson can be Sunderland’s dangerman

Sunderland's Adam Johnson (centre) celebrates with team-mate Jozy Altidore (right) after scoring.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson (centre) celebrates with team-mate Jozy Altidore (right) after scoring.
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GUS POYET says Sunderland need to give Adam Johnson a platform to be the Black Cats’ dangerman.

Johnson netted his first Premier League goal since last season’s derby victory at St James’s Park when he grabbed the opener in Saturday’s defeat to Tottenham.

The England winger came back into the team against Spurs after being confined to a substitute’s role in the previous two games with Aston Villa and Chelsea.

But head coach Poyet retains his belief that Johnson can be an integral figure for Sunderland in their battle to create the goals necessary to beat the drop.

The former Brighton boss admits though that basement boys Sunderland are yet to produce a performance which makes the most out of Johnson’s talent.

Poyet told the Echo: “I think Adam needs to get a game where we make him the influential player he will be. We haven’t done that yet.

“We’ve been playing half and half and haven’t been in complete control where we can get Adam on the ball in the right place against the right players.

“It will take time. During that time, we need to use the squad and see if we can get goals from somewhere.”

Johnson struggled for consistency under Poyet’s predecessors Martin O’Neill and Paolo Di Canio after arriving at the Stadium of Light in a £10million deal during the summer of 2010.

But after working with Johnson for the last two months, Poyet says the 26-year-old’s ability cannot be questioned.

“I think he’s one of the most talented players at the club, without a doubt,” added Poyet.

“I just want to manage him well and make him the best he can be.

“That’s my way of managing and I’m sure he will be.

“It’s just a matter of starting to control the games and using him at the right place at the right time.”