Sunderland winger Johnson faces extended international duty

David Vaughan
David Vaughan
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SUNDERLAND must decide whether Adam Johnson’s extended stint with England warrants a delayed return to the Academy of Light.

The entire Black Cats squad is due to assemble at the training ground tomorrow to begin their preparations for Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.

But the postponement of England’s clash with Poland last night until this afternoon, means Johnson will spend an extra day on international duty.

Johnson was not included in the starting line-up to face the Poles so fatigue is unlikely to be a major factor for the £10million summer signing.

And with England due to fly home immediately after the game, Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill may decide that Johnson can comply with the original plans for his return to Wearside.

Elsewhere, it was a mixed night on the international front for Sunderland’s players, with Swedish midfielder Seb Larsson enjoying the biggest high in the World Cup qualifiers.

Larsson, substituted with 15 minutes to go, helped Sweden end Germany’s 100 per cent record with a remarkable 4-4 draw in Berlin.

Sweden found themselves 4-0 down by the hour mark, yet rallied with three goals inside 14 minutes before CSKA Moscow midfielder Rasmus Elm grabbed a 93rd minute leveller.

David Meyler also experienced a euphoric evening after making his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland, albeit a brief one.

Meyler was a 90th-minute substitute in the 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands, with Sunderland team-mates Keiren Westwood and John O’Shea both starting the encounter.

But in qualification Group A, Steven Fletcher and David Vaughan saw their hopes of featuring in the 2014 World Cup all but extinguished.

Fletcher was an isolated figure in his 76 minutes for Scotland as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat to group leaders Belgium, who had Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet on the bench.

Meanwhile, Vaughan lasted the entirety of Wales’ 2-0 defeat to Croatia, although they remain a point above the Scots at the bottom of the group table.