Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole backs Adam Johnson for 2014 World Cup


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The Independent Football

Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is backing old friend Adam Johnson to make it to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

The 25-year-old winger was this week forced to withdraw from Roy Hodgson's squad for the opening qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine due to a thigh injury.

However, Cattermole, who came through the Middlesbrough Academy with Johnson, is convinced that if England make it to Brazil, Johnson will be there with them after moving from Manchester City to Sunderland partly to keep his international career alive.

He told the Sunderland Echo: "To come back to the north-east, he will get a lot of attention around here. Sometimes that's hard to handle.

"But Johnno's a great lad and he's shown the desire to come because he wants to play.

"He's going to further his career, kick on and be a full England international all the time. I'm sure when the next World Cup comes along, he's going to be in it."

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill invested heavily to bring Johnson to Wearside in a bid to add an attacking threat to his team, and his arrival has sparked genuine excitement.

Cattermole, 24, knows exactly what he will bring to the club from the years the pair spent together at Boro, and is confident he will be a big hit.

He said: "Once the club got permission to speak, I gave him a ring and said, 'You will absolutely love it'.

"It's a big thing for him. He played in the team that won the Premier League last year. It was a big ask for him to come away from there.

"Johnno is a phenomenal player and to have him here at the age he's at is brilliant for the club. He's in the prime of his career and he's only going to get better."