We spoke exclusively to former Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham player Glen Johnson and invited you to chip in with your questions.
After combing through a number of responses covering various topics, from Glen’s best club environments to his choice of footwear, we selected Dylan’s question about the full-back’s playing style and setting the trend for a generation of superstars.
Have you ever considered that your style of play suggests being a founder of the English marauding fullback pushing forwards in the late 2000s that has come to set the template for players like Trent and James today?
— Dylwan (@dylanmills_99) January 29, 2022
Glen replied: “I was definitely one of the earlier guys who wanted to get forward and attack.
“Probably the era before me it was all about defending and sitting back — almost like playing like four centre backs. But I never saw football that way, so yeah, we probably were the era where we changed it slightly but we proved then that that was the right thing to do because now everyone is trying to do it.
“But at the time when we were doing it they were saying you’re out of position and this and that. But no, you’re not, because your position changes depending on where the ball is.”
Keep an eye on Squawka over the coming days for more from Glen on Chelsea’s Club World Cup campaign, his time with Liverpool, Barcelona links and more.
More from our exclusive interview with Glen Johnson
- Johnson previews Chelsea’s Club World Cup campaign
- Johnson calls on Chelsea to renew ‘fantastic’ Azpilicueta’s contract
Get to know Glen Johnson
Johnson came through the academy at West Ham and made his professional debut for the Hammers in January 2003 after a brief loan spell across town at The Den.
Aged 18, he became the first signing of the Roman Abramovich era at Chelsea as the Blues parted with £6million to prise Johnson away from West Ham following their relegation. There he featured in a 3-2 victory over Liverpool in the 2005 League Cup Final and made 16 Premier League appearances as the Blues were crowned English champions for the first time under Jose Mourinho in 2004/05.
However, Johnson made just four appearances the following season as he was pushed to the fringes and ultimately shipped out on loan to Portsmouth for the entirety of the 2006/07 campaign. He made the move to Fratton Park permanent a year later, reuniting with Harry Redknapp after benefitting from regular playing time at Pompey. “[Redknapp] was a massive factor, too. He has belief in me,” said Johnson after clinching the £4million move.
It was certainly a magical time to join the south coast club as Portsmouth ended their 58-year wait for a major trophy with a historic FA Cup run in 2008. A shock win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-final saw Portsmouth installed as favourites for the trophy, before Wembley victories over West Brom and Cardiff clinched another winners’ medal for Johnson.
To add to his FA Cup heroics, he won his first competitive England cap in the same year and his stunning volley against Hull was named Premier League Goal of the Season (below). He went on to make the PFA Premier League Team of the Year the following season, completing a defence otherwise locked out by Manchester United title-winners (Edwin Van der Sar, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra).
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 18, 2016
Johnson’s star was rising all the time and despite signing a new four-and-a-half year contract with Portsmouth in January 2009, he moved to Anfield later that summer after Liverpool fought off competition from his former club Chelsea to seal an £18.5million deal.
By now he had nailed down a regular England spot and travelled to World Cups with Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson in 2010 and 2014, respectively. He was also named in Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad as part of an England career which spanned 11 years from 2003 and totalled 54 caps.
While at Liverpool, Johnson played a key role in their League Cup triumph in 2012. He dispatched a penalty as Championship Cardiff took their Premier League opponents to a shootout at Wembley, claiming his second League Cup medal and helping end the Reds’ six-year wait for silverware.
He fell agonisingly short of adding a second Premier League medal to his collection under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14, playing 30 matches as the Reds pushed Manchester City all the way in the title race. Johnson moved on to Stoke on a free at the end of the 2014/15 season, hanging up his boots three years later at 34.
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