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Mancini keeps Johnson grounded

Adam Johnson

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told Adam Johnson he is not yet a top player and should not believe hype to the contrary.

Only half of Johnson's 16 appearances for his club this season have been as a member of Mancini's starting line-up, with the player seemingly the major loser following David Silva's £24million summer arrival from Valencia.

Quoted in several newspapers, the Italian said: "He's a good player but he's just 23 years old, he's played 20 games in the Premier League and it's impossible to think of him now as a top player."

He added: "For this, he must work, he must think, he must work for the team - not two dribbles, two crosses. In a top team you need more.

"If you're only doing two dribbles you can't be the best player on the pitch. You must do dribbling, score a goal, you must defend, you must help your team-mates. There is more expected of him.

"England is like Italy. When a young player plays five games very well all the newspapers say 'oh this Adam Johnson is a fantastic player'.

"When you are young you read the newspapers and think 'I am the top, I am the top'.

"But Adam Johnson is a young player and doesn't understand the game very well. I think he can improve a lot more if he thinks more when he plays."