Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Andy Man Will Fix It for Steve; Jordan Backing Johnson to Put England on Top

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Andy Man Will Fix It for Steve; Jordan Backing Johnson to Put England on Top

Article excerpt

Byline: NEAL COLLINS

CRYSTAL PALACE chairman Simon Jordan is backing his former striker Andy Johnson to explode alongside Wayne Rooney in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel on Saturday.

Jordan, who sold Johnson to Everton for [pounds sterling]8.6million last summer after four years at Selhurst Park, is convinced Johnson deserves to start for England ahead of Spurs pocket-rocket Jermain Defoe and Preston hopeful David Nugent.

Jordan said: "It's about time Andy got a real chance in a big game - he has been picked five times for England and he has been played out of position. Now Andy has the chance to impress and I'm confident he will do just that.

"He can play with anyone in the country let alone Wayne Rooney, he is that good. He deserves his chance, he deserved it 18 months ago. I have got nothing but good things to say about Andy as a player, as a professional and as a man.

"Andy is a credit to himself and the game. He hasn't just got there on his natural ability alone, he has worked hard at his game and he is achieving things through hard endeavour.

"He is a lovely kid and we still have a great relationship. I get texts from him. He is a family man and although he may be shy, he has a great personality and can be very witty.

"If I could have a role model for a son then he would be it. He can cope with all the pressures of being with the England team, of leading the line and the expectations that come with it.

"I'm sure he will fly against Israel and it wouldn't surprise me if he scores. I have said for years that he would be a good deputy for Michael Owen, but now he can state his own case."

When Sven Goran Eriksson left and Rooney was suspended, new England boss Steve McClaren played Crouch and Defoe for his first three matches against Greece, Andorra and Macedonia.

Three men played up front in the 1-1 draw against Holland - Rooney, Joe Cole and Johnson - and Crouch was a lone striker against Spain. …

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