Johnson was digesting a Championship defeat at Bristol City this time last year.
He had scored a late penalty but it wasn't enough and he was considering his future at Middlesbrough.
Twelve months on and he has a key role in Manchester City's revolution and an England goal at Wembley to his name.
"It feels like ages ago, from then to now," Johnson told the Daily Mail. "It's been brilliant for me. I always believed I could do it but at Middlesbrough it was hard.
"People thought I should be in the team but I had Stewart Downing in front of me.
"Sometimes I thought I should have left earlier as I did not get a chance. I feel I am now making up for lost time."