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|Birthday||August 23, 1984|
The 2009-10 season saw Johnson get his career well and truly back on track. A £17 million move from Porstmouth to Liverpool gave him a second chance to perform at one of the Premier League’s ‘big four’ clubs and England boss Fabio Capello settled on the defender as his first choice right-back.
Johnson first burst onto the scene towards the end of the 2002-03 season during West Ham United’s ill-fated relegation battle, but soon won plaudits from all quarters. He secured a £6 million move to Chelsea to return to the Premier League but it was too much too soon for the Londoner, who spent most of his time sat on the bench. He made a disastrous England debut in November 2003 against Denmark as the side let in four goals and a few weeks later he was sent home from the England Under-21 squad for a general lack of enthusiasm and professionalism.
Harry Redknapp handed the defender a chance to rebuild his career with Portsmouth during the 2006-07 season and he earned a permanent four-year deal with some accomplished performances. His attacking forays made him a Fratton Park favourite and he helped the unfashionable club to win the FA Cup in 2008, re-establishing his England credentials in the process. Liverpool came calling in the summer of 2009.
Strengths: Possessing a great turn of pace that gives him the ability to recover when defending, he also provides a potent attacking threat going in the other direction.
Weaknesses: His lack of positional sense when defending can be exploited by top opposition.
Career high: Winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth at Wembley in 2008.
Career low: Relegation with West Ham United during his debut season of 2002-03.
Style: Attack-minded, pacy, a raw defender who loves to get forward.
Quotes: “He is a winner. One of the main things is his mentality – it’s really good. He is also English and that is important for the Champions League list. We were thinking about improving the team and Johnson is a very good player who will do that.” Liverpool manger Rafa Benitez, August 2009.
Trivia: In January 2007 Johnson, along with former Millwall player Ben May, was arrested at a B&Q store in Dartford for attempting to steal a toilet seat. Both received £80 fines.