At first glance, Adam Johnson – skinny, pasty white, somewhat gangly – doesn’t seem to have too much in common with one of movieland’s leading men. This Sunday, however, that could all change.
On March 2, if all goes according to script (and Hollywood is rather known for doing so), Matthew McConaughey will be walking away from the Academy Awards with the Oscar for Best Actor.
It’ll complete what has been a remarkable resurgence for the actor in the past couple of years; the McConnaissance, as it were.
After a decade of starring in sub-standard rom-coms, he has wowed audiences with roles in the likes of Mud, Dallas Buyers’ Club and the TV series True Detective. Performances most critics thought were now long beyond him.
On March 2, provided things do not go according to script (and football is rather known for such), Adam Johnson will be walking away from Wembley with a League Cup winner’s medal.
It’ll complete what has been a remarkable resurgence for the winger in the past couple of months; the Johnaissance, as no one is saying.
After 18 months as a (very) pale (maybe he’s been ill?) imitation of a footballer, he has wowed fans with his performances against Fulham, Manchester United and the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle. Performances most experts thought were now long beyond him.
He has became the player everyone expected when he first arrived from Manchester City for £10m; the player everyone wanted when we was linked transfer window after transfer window. Sometimes it’s best if you don’t get what you want, as the reality is incapable of matching your heightened expectations, and that certainly seemed to be the case with Johnson. Until now, that is.
He was named as Player of the Month for January, a reward for his five goals and two assists in that time, including a stunning hat-trick against Fulham, which leaves him comfortably ahead as Sunderland’s top scorer and provider in the league.
An even bigger reward was the revival of his England chances, which had seemed dead and buried not long ago.
In fact, perhaps the winger’s most remarkable accomplishment to date was doing enough to persuade Roy Hodgson to actually make a visit to the North East. Of course this then resulted in a rather poor performance, as he was doubled-up on and perhaps guilty of trying too hard to impress. With a potential World Cup place to play for though, you can hardly blame him.
However, his seat on the plane to Rio is once again looking extremely likely to be filled by someone else after he was left out of Hodgson’s extended 30-man squad for the friendly with Denmark next month. In fairness, his form has dipped since the England boss came to visit, and he needs to show he can produce on a more consistent basis. It still seems rather harsh, though, given there’s room for FOUR goalkeepers and (even more inexplicably) Tom Cleverley!?
Of course, he’ll get his chance at Wembley before then anyway, and the stage is all set for Sunday.
A local lad playing for his hometown team, against his former club, in a cup final.
A chance to help his side to their first silverware in over 40 years; a chance to complete his own personal domestic hat-trick of trophies; a chance to be a part of history.
Struggling underdogs against heavyweight title contenders.
It may not be the most original script, but it’s still a good one.
The Capital One Cup final will feature an ensemble cast, but Adam Johnson has a chance to be the star of the show.
If all goes to plan, there may even be a sequel…