Ambitious AJ sets World Cup target

The former Middlesbrough winger completed a £7.5million switch

to Eastlands in the January transfer window and made an immediate

impact on his home debut in the 2-0 victory over Bolton. Despite

competition from David Beckham, Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing,

Ashley Young, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Theo Walcott and James Milner

to make the 23-man squad, Johnson is convinced he can force his way

in. He told the News of the World: “With the World Cup coming up,

stranger things have happened. When I signed for City there were

little things in my head telling me to make the move. “In the

Championship I wasn’t being seen, never mind being picked for

England. I needed to be on the TV and getting talked about, which

wasn’t happening. “When the opportunity came up to leave

Middlesbrough and join a big club, things like England became a

factor “I hope I can make the jump and go to South Africa with

England. I’ve got to continue to play like I did in my first home

game and then I might get a sniff. “I’ve had no indication, just

some banter with the lads about it, but nothing concrete yet.”

Johnson is confident using either foot and the 22-year-old admits

he has drawn inspiration from Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs

as he aims to further his career. Johnson added: “I have modelled

my game on Giggs, he’s been the best player in England for the past

20 years. “I wanted to further my career and I wanted to join the

biggest club I could when the opportunity came. “There has been

speculation about me for a long time, ever since I was 18 and a

young player at Middlesbrough. “I’ve been linked with Real Madrid

and Manchester United before and it’s all very flattering, but City

were the first club to make a concrete offer. “With the quality of

players we have, I wanted to come and learn from them.”