Adam Johnson is eager to start today’s match against Birmingham City after finding himself on the bench in recent Premier League games.
The talented England winger has been kicking his heels waiting for a chance to win his first-team berth back, but accepts waiting for opportunities is part and parcel of the modern game.
“It’s been tough at times because I started the season really well, and I was pleased with my form, but we’ve got a good squad, and in football sometimes you have your highs and you have your lows,” he said.
“I just want to play every minute of every game, but that’s not always possible. I’m hoping to start against Birmingham, especially after the stalemate on Wednesday, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Johnson, who should feature for England against France next Wednesday, believes City’s standing in the game is leading to teams coming to the City of Manchester Stadium with a changed attitude.
He said: “I think the way United set up showed us a lot respect. It was a bit of a cat and mouse game. I think it was pretty even and I don’t think either team looked like creating anything.
“It was a poor game to watch for the neutral; I don’t think either team wanted to win or lose, but it was a massive game with such a lot at stake, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad result.”
Johnson is also aware that he is now viewed as a potential match-winner with United paying him the ultimate accolade on Wednesday.
“Yeah, they were doubling up a bit on me,” he smiled. “This has happened a lot this season, and it’s something I’ve got to deal with now.
I’ve got a bit of a reputation for taking players on, and while it’s a compliment, I’ve got to adapt to it
With United playing so defensively in the derby, Johnson expects nothing less from today’s opponents.
“I think if United come to shut-up shop then Birmingham probably will too,” he said. “Most teams probably will, knowing the reputation we have and we need to learn to deal with it because I don’t see it going away.
“I know a few of the Birmingham lads like Scott Danns, Cameron Jerome and Craig Gardner. I’ve played for England Under-21s with Craig and Scott, while Cameron was on trial at Middlesbrough as a youngster.
“They’ve done well in the last few seasons and have some good players. They’ve improved a lot and are now an established Premier League team and we might have beaten them 5-1 last season, but this will be a tough game for us.”