Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has backed January’s Player of the Month Adam Johnson to force his way into the England squad for the World Cup.

The winger has been in excellent form since the turn of the year, playing a key role in the Black Cats’ rise from the foot of the table to 14th position and their run to the Capital One Cup final.

His dramatic turn in form has led to talk of an England call-up, with Roy Hodgson said to be considering the 26-year-old ahead of his upcoming friendly fixtures.

Johnson – who had been written off as a £10m flop just a matter of months ago – is firmly in the running according to his manager, who believes that if the World Cup was due to take place next week he’d be in the Three Lions’ ranks:

“I’m sure if the World Cup was next week, Adam would be there,” he said. “I’ve no doubt about that.” He is quoted by the Daily Star.

“The idea is that he maintains his current level so he has a chance at the end of the campaign.

“There are a group of 17, 18 or 19 who pick themselves but there will always be a few places left.

“And they will go to those who are playing at such an incredible level, they can’t be left behind.

“Adam was the best player in the Premier League last month and thoroughly deserves his award. Let’s hope he can win another one because that would mean we are safe.”

Johnson enters this weekend’s games with seven goals in his last seven games, and is in, arguably, the best form of his career since his emergence with Middlesbrough.

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