AJ plays down World Cup talk

National team boss Fabio Capello revealed he has been impressed by

the Manchester City winger following his move from Middlesbrough in

February. Johnson, 22, has never been called into an England squad

but could find himself in Capello’s provisional 30-man line-up for

the World Cup, which he will name on May 16. Johnson told the BBC’s

Football Focus: “I was playing in the Championship in January and

now people are talking about me playing for England. “It’s nice

hearing it but I’m still young. I just want to push on and try to

be the best player I can be. You’ve got to keep your feet on the

ground and not get too carried away.” Johnson came through

Middlesbrough’s academy and broke into the team as a teenager

playing on the left of midfield. But the left-footer has been

deployed on the right by City, where he has put in a number of

impressive performances. With David Beckham definitely out of

contention for the World Cup, Aaron Lennon still struggling with

injury and Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips not on top form,

the door is open for Johnson Capello said: “Adam Johnson [has

caught my eye this season]. He’s come up from the Championship at

Middlesbrough, where he played in a different position, and he’s

done well with Manchester City. “Now it’s important he gets some

international experience.” Capello also agreed with Carlo

Ancelotti’s observation that England are a better bet at the finals

than the pair’s native Italy. Ancelotti felt the defending

champions were going through a transitional period while England

had several players at the peak of their powers. Capello said: “I

agree with that. “We can play at the same level as all the

finalists and when I say that it means we can go far.” Current

Azzurri boss Marcello Lippi is due to stand down after the finals

in South Africa but Capello indicated he was happy with his current

role and would return to media work when his contract with England

expires after the 2012 European Championships. “From my part there

are no problems,” he added. “After that (2012), I will commentate

just as I did before I got England’s call.” The 63-year-old refused

to rule out a return to club coaching, however. “I am nevertheless

always interested in new and fascinating situations and difficult

challenges,” he said. “Having been a national team coach, to guide

a club is very different but I don’t close any doors.”