Hughes: AJ can play for England

BY foxsports • February 7, 2011

The 29-year-old has been dogged by injury problems since moving to the Cottagers two and a half years ago. But he is showing signs of being back to his best and produced a typical sharp finish in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa. Johnson has only 18 months to run of his current contract but Hughes is keen to retain his services. Hughes said: "We're starting to see the best of Andy Johnson now. He had a significant injury and he's been out for a considerable length of time. "In fairness to him, he's played a number of games now and his performance levels have been good. "All that's been lacking have been goals. Now thankfully he's added goals. He's in good shape at the moment. "He looks strong. He's completing games at the right intensity and he's not fading out of games, which you would expect with the length of time that he's been out. "He's been really splendid for the team. Everybody is delighted for him because of what he has been through." Hughes added: "Andy has 18 months of his contract left. Do I want to keep him? Yes, absolutely. "He's missed a lot of football and we're hopeful now that he'll have a run of games and his career will progress without injury. "He was in the England squad prior to his injury problems. Who's to say that, if he keeps himself fit, he can't get himself back into those squads? "He has recovered so strongly because he is a mentally strong guy. "He's had disappointments because he's come back a little bit too soon because he's just keen to play. "I think he's learned from that and he understands his body now." Johnson's fellow striker Bobby Zamora is also edging closer to fitness after his long-term lay-off with a broken leg. Hughes said: "Bobby is training with the first-team squad now. I'd imagine that it will be two or three weeks before he's fit enough to be considered. "But he is on track and doing well. We'll look to put games into him."

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