Eddie Johnson: EPL still an uphill battle

Updated: August 23, 2010, 11:44 AM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- American players are still struggling to be respected in the English Premier League, U.S. forward Eddie Johnson said.

Since joining Fulham from Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards in January 2008, Johnson has spent time on loan at second-tier club Cardiff and Greece's Aris.

Johnson has yet to appear in a game for Fulham this season, but the 26-year-old Florida native can draw inspiration from Clint Dempsey, who has become one of the London club's stars since arriving at Craven Cottage in 2007.

"Being an American, it's tough to come over here and do well in such a big league where American players are still fighting for respect," Johnson said. "I know it was tough for Clint Dempsey when he first came over and he had to fight his way into the team.

"But the club took a chance on me, so now it's time for me to deliver. ... I'm at the stage where I should be playing regular first-team football and I feel like, after the loans I've had at Cardiff and in Greece, I'm ready."

Johnson hopes his fortunes will change with Mark Hughes now in charge after Roy Hodgson left Fulham to manage Liverpool in the offseason.

"With a new coach coming in my job as a player is to try and impress day in, day out, and I'm in a good environment to do that," Johnson said in an official Fulham magazine. "A lot of the boys such as myself like to express themselves and that's something that maybe we couldn't do as much with the style we played with Roy, which was more focused on being well-organized and playing a lot of one- and two-touch football.

"Our new coaches put the emphasis on attack and like players to express themselves. ... There are times in a game when you do need to take more than two touches."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press