Johnson has bagged 11 England caps but saw his international career stall under Mancini.
English aces James Milner, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair — all senior candidates for Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson — are lacking match-time too and Johnson said: “I missed the World Cup two years ago because I wasn’t playing.
“I still probably had better stats than some of the players who went and I played half as much. It was more personally about not playing enough. I wanted to play every week.
“It was one of the factors. Coming to Sunderland and playing more would enhance my chances of playing for England more.”