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Johnson Has Nothing But Faith In 'Awesome' Striker

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In-form winger Adam Johnson believes goals are just around the corner for Jozy Altidore.

Chris Brunskill

Goal-shy Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore faces his former club tomorrow with a ringing endorsement from Adam Johnson behind him.

The American has endured serious criticism for a campaign that has produced just one league goal so far, but Johnson believes his 'awesome' performance against Newcastle showed his value to the cause.

Johnson told reporters:

All the staff have given us so much confidence and you can see it in Jozy. He is the type of character you need at this club.

There is a lot more to him than goals. Against Newcastle he must have been a nightmare to play against. Genuinely, I thought he was awesome.

If you play like that as a striker but you don't score goals, to be honest it doesn't really matter, because the amount of chances he created for us, his team-mates and his work-rate, tells its own story.

He pushed and pulled the Newcastle centre-halves all over the place and showed power, strength and pace. He was unplayable at times and his performance was outstanding.

I said to him ‘If you keep playing like that, getting into great positions and playing well then the goals will come.'

It's almost quite fitting that these comments have come from Adam Johnson. It was just over a month ago when he was similarly struggling. He is proof of how a little confidence can transform a player's demeanor.

For what it's worth, I agree with him. We've seen Altidore hit rock bottom this season - perhaps against Kidderminster - but his two performances since then have been excellent. He seems to be getting much more involved in the play and sniffing out chances with more conviction. All that has really been lacking from them has been a goal or two.

I've maintained all season that goals will eventually come for him. This weekend would be a good time to start.