Manchester City v Sunderland: Adam Johnson says Capital One Cup victory would top City achievements

The winger says a victory on Sunday would be a career highlight

Adam Johnson admits winning the Capital One Cup with Sunderland would be the highlight of his career to date.

The 26-year-old has 11 senior England caps to his name, as well as winners medals in the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield from his time at Manchester City and an FA Youth Cup triumph with first club Middlesbrough.

However, given that the current campaign has seen the Black Cats dispense with Paolo Di Canio after a disastrous start which propelled them into a desperate fight for top-flight survival, victory over City at Wembley on Sunday would be little short of remarkable.

Johnson said: "Especially the way the season has gone and playing City, it would probably be the highlight of my career, especially with Sunderland.

"When I was at City winning trophies and things, it was half-expected. But at Sunderland, no-one has even given us a chance of winning anything, so to bring that back would be massive."

The fact that Sunderland, backed by 31,000 fans, will even set foot on Wembley's hallowed turf this weekend is an achievement in itself after the club was left in disarray when Di Canio's colourful reign was brought to a sudden conclusion.

Replacement Gus Poyet's mission was simply to ensure the club remained in the Premier League, and that outcome is still far from certain.

Nevertheless, the recovery he has inspired has led to an unexpected bonus, and it is one which Johnson and his team-mates are determined to exploit to the full.

The winger said: "That's just how it goes, isn't it, in football? One minute, you are struggling and the next minute, it can all change for you.

"In recent months, we have improved - we have had to improve, otherwise we would have been long gone by now.

"The cups have given us a massive lift as well with the league form. It's a great day out for everyone, everyone is just looking forward to it."

However, Johnson knows better than most the difficulty of the task which lies ahead after spending two-and-a-half years at the Etihad Stadium, the latter part of it having largely fallen out of favour with then manager Roberto Mancini.

A £10million switch to the Stadium of Light in August 2012 gave him a fresh start, and - although he has taken time to settle on Wearside - the Easington-born midfielder has rediscovered his best form in recent months.

Johnson is not so sure he has anything left to prove to anyone at City on Sunday, but that will make little difference to his approach.

He said: "I don't know, it's been a while now since I left. But regardless of who you are playing for, as a player, you would always want to prove something in the final anyway whether you are the best player in the world or someone in his first final.

"You still want to be the best player on the pitch or the best player you can be, and I will be no different whether it's against City or anyone else."

Should Sunderland defy the odds and beat City to lift their first piece of major silverware since their 1973 FA Cup triumph, the knock-on effect could be immeasurable.

Ten years ago, a 16-year-old Johnson was part of Boro's Youth Cup winning squad as the club's senior team lifted the then Carling Cup at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

He said: "I was 15 or 16 and I can remember the atmosphere on the training ground building up to the final. It was a great day out for everyone and all the lads who went down to watch it.

"I remember after the final, it just gave everyone a lift around the whole training ground, not just the first team.

"That ran down into the young lads as well and inspired us to want to be there."

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003