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England coach Pearce likens Man City winger Johnson to Giggs

England U21 coach Stuart Pearce rates Manchester City winger Adam Johnson as a World Cup bolter.

Pearce, who will be on Fabio Capello's World Cup staff, says the 22-year-old is ready for the big stage, and offers a dribbling threat from the left wing reminiscent of Manchester United and Wales legend Ryan Giggs.

He said: "He is probably a Ryan Giggs of his time. You watch him running at people, jinking in and out.

"I saw some footage of the West Ham game and he was unfortunate not to get a penalty when he went past three players. It reminded me of Ryan Giggs 20 years ago when he first started the game. He has something unique about him. Johnno is not the completed article but he is an improving player and that is a fantastic thing to be.

"Is he ready? If you cast your memory back 20 years to Paul Gascoigne, who knew whether he was ready or not? The one thing Paul had in those days was a manager that believed in him. Now all the players that have got the opportunity know full well that Fabio has done his homework on them and if he believes in you, gives you a shirt and picks you for England, that in itself would be a fantastic lift for any player.

"At the back end of this season Johnson has shown that he has got a maturity in his play. But maybe a year ago in his own mind it was pick the ball up and run directly at opponents, but now I see a more all-round player. I see a more mature player.

"That is maybe down to maturity as an individual, and the coaching he has been getting at Manchester City has helped him as well. I am seeing a more complete player now."

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Tribal Football Staff

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