Rowell Report: Sunderland’s Johnson fully deserved the top player award

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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CAN I just add my congratulations, along with everyone else, who has praised Adam Johnson for the magnificent achievement of winning the January Player of the Month award.

It goes without saying that its the award which goes to the best player in the Premier League that particular month and that’s why Adam has done so well because it is so much easier to catch the eye when you’re a Suarez at Liverpool or a Cazorla at Arsenal.

To catch the eye of the judges when you’re playing for a relegation-threatened team takes some doing but it was impossible to ignore Adam’s form after being the decisive player in so many of the Black Cats’ games and scoring five goals in four Premier League outings.

Johnson’s renaissance has been one of the biggest talking points of Sunderland’s season and Gus Poyet deserves enormous credit in succeeding where Martin O’Neill and Paolo Di Canio failed, in getting the very best out of the England winger.

Poyet has realised that for Johnson to reach his full potential, Sunderland have to be giving him the ball constantly in the final third.

Too often previously we saw him receiving the ball on the half-way line with often two players on him and so much to do.

The way Poyet has changed things, has given Adam a fighting chance in games now and we saw with his hat-trick at Fulham and the way he tortured the Magpies, how dangerous he can be when used correctly.

Sadly, that was something England manager Roy Hodgson did not get to see at the Stadium of Light at the weekend with Sunderland reduced to 10 men after three minutes, Johnson shifted inside and attacking moments at a premium.

But the fact is, that Johnson is a man bang in form – his confidence sky high – and Poyet knows how to get the best out of him.

Hopefully that continues because a Johnson at his best is a threat to any defence in the Premier League and that includes those of Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool coming up.