Johnson earns Worthington praise

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Football News

Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign is up and running and so too is Damien Johnson.

The Birmingham midfielder marked his first international apeparance in 11 months with an impressive display in a comprehensive victory. Johnson gave the opposition defenders a harrowing time and manager Nigel Worthington was delighted with the player's display in the 3-0 victory against San Marino.

"It was a super performance by Damien," he said. "He is a great pro with a great attitude."

He added: "I am delighted he is back and fit again. He was very controlled and kept it neat and tidy. He got lots of crosses in."

Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt both scored for the province for the first time and Grant McCann was also on target.

In the process they propelled the team into second place in Group Three on goal difference, although they have played a game more than their rivals.

It was just the reuslt Worthington wanted with back-to-back home fixtures to come against Poland and Slovenia next month.

He said: "The goal was to get the three points and we achieved that to go second in the table.

"That sets us up nicely for the match against Poland. It was a very professional, solid performance. We scored three goals and kept a clean sheet so it was very pleasing. I was delighted with our attitude.

"People might say it is only San Marino but you still have to go out and do the job. The big plus was getting an early goal. That settled everyone down."

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Chris Brunt
Gareth McAuley
Grant McCann
Damien Johnson

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