Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill yesterday expressed his delight after managing to lure former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson to the Stadium of Light for a fee of around £10 million.
Johnson, 25, made a promising start to his Manchester City career, scoring his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw away at Sunderland. However, his first team opportunities at the Etihad have been few and far between of late, and a move away from Manchester seemed evident.
O’Neill told BBC Radio Newcastle: “I’m delighted he’s chosen us. I’m thrilled for the supporters who now get a chance to be excited by him.” O’Neill also believes that Johnson has made a wise career move if his aspirations of playing for England are to be fulfilled: “If he’s playing more regularly and playing well, it’s a big goal of Adam’s to play well for his country.”
O’Neill added that the signings of Johnson and Scottish striker Steven Fletcher demonstrates Sunderland’s desire to attain a higher league position than their 13th-placed finish last campaign: “We want to try to do better than last season, plus keeping the ingredients that got us out of trouble – that spirit the players possessed, although it faded towards the back end of last season once we had achieved Premier League status – there was a drop off in intensity.”
Johnson made an impressive start to his Sunderland career last night, albeit up against a Morecambe side from League 2. The England international provided two assists for the talented James McClean in a comfortable 2-0 victory for the Black Cats.