Roberto Mancini believes Adam Johnson will be an England regular before too long after he gave Sunderland’s defence a torrid final 20 minutes or so at the Stadium of Light.
But the Blues’ boss then revealed the 22-year-old faces a fight to get into City’s first team ahead of team-mates Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Johnson came off the bench with just 17 minutes of normal time left, yet he was arguably City’s best player on the day and capped a superb cameo appearance with an exquisite 90th-minute equaliser.
Though this World Cup may have come too quickly for the former England Under-21 star, his manager believes he will soon become a permanent fixture in Fabio Capello’s team.
"Adam Johnson is a very talented player and I think he will be representing his country on a regular basis before too long,” said Mancini.
He proved today what an asset he is to our team and he gave us a huge lift in the closing stages. He has so much natural ability and Sunderland struggled to contain him today.
...Boss on Adam Johnson
“But he knows he has a battle on his hands to start in our team because I have two very experienced, very good players competing with him in Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
“As a manager, it’s a good problem to have because all three players know they will have to be at the top of their game to win selection.
“I thought Bellamy and Wright-Phillips did well today, but Johnson changed the game for us today and I was very happy with his contribution and I think there is much more to come from him.”