Johnson thinks there is big club bias to England caps.
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has criticised Roy Hodgson, claiming the England boss only picks players from the big Premier League clubs and does not want any big decisions to make.
Johnson, 26, looked a shoe-in to be named in Hodgson’s 30-man squad for last month’s friendly with Denmark, after bagging seven goals in nine games and winning January’s Premier League player of month award.
But, of the outfield players picked, only two – Steven Caulker of Cardiff and Toronto FC’s Jermain Defoe – were from teams outside the top eight Premier League clubs.
Defoe had only just move to Canada from Tottenham, while Hodgson admitted that Caulker, also formerly of Spurs, was a late pick after an injury to Phil Jagielka.
Johnson believes it is hard for players outside Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Spurs and Southampton to gain international recognition.
“I think a lot of people were surprised,” Johnson, who has 12 senior caps, told the Guardian.
“I think a lot of people saw me as almost a certainty but if you look at the last squad it was almost all top eight bar Caulker, who wasn’t meant to be in it but for [Phil] Jagielka’s injury. I think that says a lot about the selection. I don’t think it really matters how well you’re playing, it’s who you play for.
“It’s a fact isn’t it? If you look at the last 10 squads: Southampton have been playing well, they’re in the top eight‚ and the rest are Everton, Tottenham, Man United, City, clubs like that.
“All my caps came when I was at City. Sometimes I got picked when I wasn’t playing. Now I’m playing more and I can’t get a cap. It’s just a fact. It’s not me being sour. Some of the players, if they weren’t playing for the big clubs, wouldn’t be anywhere near it [the squad].
“I came to Sunderland to play more, rather than thinking about England. But some games I wasn’t even on the bench at City but I was still in the England squad. I felt Denmark was probably the closest I’d been under Roy Hodgson. But in his mind I don’t think he really wanted any big decisions to make so he stuck with the players who had been around since the start of the campaign. That’s life, that’s the way it goes. It will be interesting to see how it goes in the World Cup and what happens after.”