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Johnson lauds return of Sunderland defender Brown from injury

Adam Johnson says Wes Brown's return from two years of injury has been key to Sunderland's recent form and defensive solidity. "Against (Manchester) City, Wes was unbelievable, it looked like he had never been away - he is a top-class player," said Johnson.

The 34 year old missed the whole of last season with a succession of injuries which have dogged his stay in the North east.

"The City game gave us such a lift and we wanted to play again as quickly as possible so it wasn't ideal to have two weeks [for the international break] until the next match," Johnson told BBC Newcastle.

"But on the other hand, the break gives Wes some recovery - although quite honestly he's been training as hard as anyone."

"Ever since I came here I've been desperate for him to get fit because everyone has told me just how good he is," Johnson added.

"I think the Hull game where we played the second half with nine men and almost nicked something just gave us unbelievable belief as a group.

"But since Wes came back I think you can see the defensive improvement - it's a massive turnaround."

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Dave Williams

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