Johnson: US players not fully respected in England

American players are still struggling to be respected in the

English Premier League, U.S. forward Eddie Johnson said.

Since joining Fulham from Major League Soccer’s Kansas City

Wizards in January 2008, Johnson has spent time on loan at

second-tier club Cardiff and Greece’s Aris.

Johnson has yet to appear in a game for Fulham this season, but

the 26-year-old Florida native can draw inspiration from Clint

Dempsey, who has become one of the London club’s stars since

arriving at Craven Cottage in 2007.

”Being an American, it’s tough to come over here and do well in

such a big league where American players are still fighting for

respect,” Johnson said. ”I know it was tough for Clint Dempsey

when he first came over and he had to fight his way into the

team.

”But the club took a chance on me, so now it’s time for me to

deliver. … I’m at the stage where I should be playing regular

first-team football and I feel like, after the loans I’ve had at

Cardiff and in Greece, I’m ready.”

Johnson hopes his fortunes will change with Mark Hughes now in

charge after Roy Hodgson left Fulham to manage Liverpool in the

offseason.

”With a new coach coming in my job as a player is to try and

impress day in, day out, and I’m in a good environment to do

that,” Johnson said in an official Fulham magazine. ”A lot of the

boys such as myself like to express themselves and that’s something

that maybe we couldn’t do as much with the style we played with

Roy, which was more focused on being well-organized and playing a

lot of one- and two-touch football.

”Our new coaches put the emphasis on attack and like players to

express themselves. … There are times in a game when you do need

to take more than two touches.”