• Premier League

Hodgson has a 'good relationship' with Johnson

ESPN staff
November 20, 2010
Roy Hodgson addresses the Glen Johnson issue

Roy Hodgson claimed mischief-making was to blame for his recent spat with Glen Johnson, and he insisted he has a good relationship with the Liverpool right-back after the Reds' 3-0 win against West Ham.

Liverpool claimed victory thanks to goals from Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez at Anfield, and Johnson was at the heart of the Reds' best moves on his return from injury. It was the ideal repost from the England international after Hodgson had recently criticised his form.

"He's the England right-back and, if he plays like that, one would expect him to come back in when he's fit," Hodgson said last Saturday. "But then he'd have to play like the England right-back and up to now, to be quite frank, he's not performed - very often at least - to the level I'd expect of him."

After watching Johnson dismantle one of his former clubs, Hodgson accused members of the player's camp of worsening the situation, but he now expects everybody to pull in one direction as Liverpool aim to close the three-point gap to the top four.

''I think it's more correct to say people made mischief about a conversational comment that was no way directed at Glen,'' Hodgson told ESPN after victory over West Ham. ''People in his camp have tried to hit back in a childish manner. Talk about a storm in a teacup, this was the original storm in a teacup.

''I've always had a good relationship with him, he's a good player and I know what he can do. He was more than fit and raring to go.''

Johnson had no problems with Hodgson's criticisms, admitting he was fully aware that his form had dipped since the World Cup.

''I didn't need to hear it from the boss, I knew I wasn't playing the best. It was nice to do well today. It was nice to play, I've missed six out of seven and wanted to come back and it's nice to come back well.''

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