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Johnson Comes to Sterling's Defense

He's spent much of the season on the periphery for Liverpool, but Glen Johnson placed himself front and center with comments regarding the ongoing controversy around Raheem Sterling's problems with England.

Brian A. Westerholt

There's not much discussion of Glen Johnson these days other than to talk about how he isn't very good anymore, is paid too much, should go somewhere else, and wasn't really ever that good to begin with. That's not especially fair to a player who was, in his prime, one of the better attacking fullbacks in the Premier League, and while it is true that injuries and age have conspired to limit his availability and quality, he's still plenty capable of producing at fullback, even if it's not consistently at a high level.

What's not discussed very often are his qualities as a teammate; by all accounts he's been excellent on that front for both club and country, even if he's not particularly vocal or commonly viewed as a "leader" in the traditional sense. So while it's maybe a little surprising that he chimed in on the Raheem Sterling-Roy Hodgson affair, but his measured words and willingness to stand up for a younger teammate are not:

"He wasn't tired as has been published, he was asked a question ‘how do you feel', and he's said his thighs were tired. There is a difference between aching and demand from games to actually saying ‘I'm tired and I can't play'. He was asked a question and gave an honest answer, and got punished for it.

"He'd play every week if he can. You are never 100%, certainly not when you are playing games every four days, you are going to play with knocks and pain and aches. And then your body gets used to it. "With Raheem, he is still growing and he is playing in the best league in the world every week. So he is going to have a demand on his body. I am sure he will just get on with his football and try and put it behind him because there is not a lot he can do about it now. He's a good professional, a sensible lad and I am sure he will just take it in his stride like he's done in the Premier League from the beginning, really.""

Nice to hear from Johnson, and I'd imagine it's a sentiment that's run throughout the England and Liverpool squads. Now let's just hope everyone involved moves on and Roy Hodgson is sent into space for science.

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