Adam Johnson has voiced his frustration at Roy Hodgson’s selection policy and Crystal Palace’s negativity, writes STUART RAYNER.
The former Manchester City winger seems certain to miss out on this summer’s World Cup and blames Hodgson’s reluctance to look past the Premier League’s top eight for players.
Adding to his dark mood was Palace’s defensive tactics in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light.
“We gave it a good go but I don’t think Palace wanted to win. We should be beating them, to be fair,” the winger said of Saturday’s performance.
“I think every team will be looking at the league table and thinking they should be beating them if they’re going to play like that and not even have any intention of trying to win. It’s difficult trying to break down 11 players.
“I think we were just unlucky. If we’d got the first goal it might have been three or four but it was tough getting that first goal. When they’ve got something to hang on to it’s hard.
“It’s a point better than we’d had from recent games. We wanted to win and we expected to win it but you’ve just got to move on. We’ll be going to Norwich to win as well.”
Palace have only scored six times in 14 Premier League away games this season.
Despite an excellent start to 2014, Johnson was notable by his absence from Hodgson’s 30-man squad for England’s last friendly, against Denmark earlier this month. With the exception of the injured Phil Jagielka, those overlooked can start making alternative plans for the summer.
Twenty-two of the 26 outfield players came from just eight clubs – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Southampton. All are in the Premier League’s top eight. There were no Sunderland or Newcastle United players.
“I don’t think it really matters how well you’re playing, it’s who you play for,” Johnson said.
“All my caps came when I was at (Manchester) City. Sometimes I got picked when I wasn’t playing. Now I’m playing more and I can’t get a cap.
“Some of the players, if they weren’t playing for the big clubs wouldn’t be anywhere near it.”
With Gustavo Poyet admitting Ignacio Scocco is struggling to come to terms with English football, Danny Graham says he has not given up on Sunderland.
January signing Scocco was meant to provide the cutting edge the Black Cats have sorely missed this season but the Argentinian’s only starts have come in the FA Cup, where they have fielded weakened sides.
“I think the situation with Nacho is more difficult than what we expected,” admitted Poyet.
“When you are a foreigner and you come to a new country, you know that it might take a few weeks or months to adapt.
“We tried to do a plan to make him sharper without losing the weekends. But it’s difficult.
“My idea was to have him for the last 12 or 13 games as fit as possible. But it’s going to take time.”
Graham is on loan at Middlesbrough, his second loan this term.
And although Poyet has shown little interest in the Gateshead-born striker in January – leaving Hull City to sort out his future – Graham has not written off his Sunderland career.
“I still think I’ve got unfinished business at Sunderland,” said Graham, who did not score in 13 appearances after a £5m January 2013 move from Swansea City.
“There’s a new manager there now and I want to go back in the summer and see where I stand.”