Today Glen Johnson celebrates his 30th birthday. A congratulation is in order on his big day.
The fullback signed for Liverpool in June 2009 completing a big money transfer from Portsmouth. Since then he has been a regular in the red shirt but constantly critised. And regrettably the critics has quite often been right. Johnson has got it all and could have been a fantastic defender.
He is well-built, strong and not a bad tackler. He is pretty quick and has good technique. His right foot can unleash belters and screamers and even the weaker left foot commands a decent shot.
But he has wasted his chance to be a superb player. His worst fault is that he rates himself to high and therefore tries things that is not on. For instance slow dribbles through packed areas. The result is often possession lost which on numerous occasions leads to dangerous counter-attacks with Johnson slowly trotting back, seemingly uninterested. His positional play in defence is also questionable.
All in all Glen Johnson could have been much better with more self-knowledge. He must learn to value situations better and take the simple decision on a more regular basis. A pass to the nearest red is often the best solution when in an attacking position. Not a meaningless dribble or a run down a blind alley. An improvement in his work ethics is also required. Furthermore Johnson should be more aware in defensive positions and constantly check where the opposition is, not only the ball. Hopefully he realizes his shortcomings, works on them and finishes his career at the level his potential has. He is a bit below right now.
Astonishingly he has kept both a Liverpool and an England place for quite some time. This season, though, his regular spot at Anfield is under serious threat with young and gamehungry teammates vying for the fullback positions.
If Johnson doesn´t up his game he is destined to watch from the sidelines when the starting eleven says:
We Go Again.