GLEN JOHNSON: In the final instalment of this biographical series, we compare Glen’s Best XI with a Best of the Rest XI made out of the teammates overlooked by the man himself.
A few weeks ago, Glen put together the best XI he ever played with. Here at BETDAQ, we’ve delved into the history books and have gone through some of the other top-quality players Glen played alongside and have produced a side we think might give his team a good run for their money…
David James (Goalkeeper) – The former England stopper was a big part of Johnson’s career and was a witness to the early growth of the promising right-back. James was between the posts for West Ham in Johnson’s first appearance in the Premier League – a 4-2 away defeat to Charlton – as well as his first start in the league – a 2-1 win at home to Blackburn. The duo went on to play 130 times together, including 96 times for Portsmouth with both starting the south coast club’s famous FA Cup final triumph in 2008.
Paulo Ferreira (Right-back)– Although we’ve got Ferreira at right-back in our team, the Portuguese was well-adept at playing on the left side of defence and did so on a number of occasions for Chelsea with Johnson filling the right-back spot. They were both key members of the superb Chelsea side of 2004/05 and their ability in both an attacking and defensive sense was a big part of the success Jose Mourinho’s side enjoyed during that dominant patch.
Jamie Carragher (Centre-back) – Johnson was fortunate to play alongside some of the world’s best centre-backs during his career and he earmarked Marcel Desailly and John Terry as the best two. However, in Carragher, a teammate on 138 occasions for Liverpool and England, he played with one of the most experienced and tactically astute centre-halves the Premier League has seen. We’re certainly not upset that the former Red will be marshalling our defence!
Rio Ferdinand (Centre-back) – It wasn’t just at club level where Johnson played with some of the best. Of his 54 England caps, 12 of them came alongside Rio Ferdinand, with whom he lost just three times for his national side. Although Ferdinand is a few years older than his England counterpart, both players are products of the famous West Ham academy which has also produced the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick. With Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba in opposition, our side will need to be rock-solid at the back and in Carragher and Ferdinand should help us achieve that.
Wayne Bridge (Left-back) – Another one of the very early signings of the Roman Abramovich era, Bridge and Johnson formed a very solid full-back partnership for Chelsea during the London club’s successful first couple of seasons under Jose Mourinho. They helped the Blues achieve the record for the fewest Premier League goals conceded in one season (15) as well as the most clean sheets (25).
Arjen Robben (Right midfield) – During their stroll to the title in 2004/05, where they lost just once, Chelsea and Jose Mourinho were blessed with some of the game’s best players, but of all the superstars Robben was the one Johnson signified as the standout. “When he first burst on the scene, it felt like he could score whenever he wanted. When his mind was on it, he was unstoppable.” The Dutch international scored 19 goals and laid on 22 assists during his spell at Stamford Bridge and is one of the most diminutive wingers the league has seen.
Jordan Henderson (Centre midfield) – The Liverpool captain has had his finest season to date and in Glen’s own words: “I think he’d be my pick for the player of the season.” The pair played over 150 times together for the Reds and could easily have won the Premier League title together during the 2013/14 campaign. He took over the Anfield captaincy from Steven Gerrard and we’re sure they would have had a ding-dong battle in the centre of the park when taking each other on here.
Philippe Coutinho (Centre midfield) – “You look on paper at his CV, at the clubs he’s been at, and it’s unbelievable. You don’t get to those clubs without an enormous amount of ability.” Johnson and Coutinho played together 67 times for Liverpool and were both integral parts of the side that came so close to winning the title in 2014. The Brazilian magician made over 200 appearances for the Reds from 2013 to 2018 and although he hasn’t quite hit the heights at either Barcelona or Bayern Munich since, the 27-year-old is still one of the hottest properties in Europe.
Raheem Sterling (Left midfield) – In the same way James saw Johnson’s early development, Glen was there right at the beginning of Sterling’s career. In fact, they both featured in the forward’s second Premier League start – a 2-0 loss to Arsenal, and went on to play 85 times together. Since then Sterling has, in Johnson’s words, become one of the world’s best: “He just seems to get better and better and both Manchester City and England have got a world-class player on their hands.”
Jermaine Defoe (Striker) – The striker Johnson had an influence on most goals-wise during his career, Defoe scored over 200 career goals and like Glen was a product of the West Ham academy. They played together in their early days at the Hammers before meeting up again a few years later at Portsmouth. They enjoyed a very fruitful two-season spell at the south coast club with their highlights including reaching the FA Cup final in 2009, where they were cruelly beaten on penalties by Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney (Striker) – England and Manchester United’s top goalscorer of all time, Rooney is one of, if not, England’s greatest ever players. Rooney and Johnson were mainstays of the national side for over five years together, with Rooney a certainty up front and Johnson the incumbent in the right-back spot. The defender assisted four goals for Rooney during his England career and alongside Defoe will form a strike force not to be messed with.