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Friday 23 February 2018

Johnson in groove with first hat-trick

Fulham 1 Sunderland 4

Adam Johnson's hat-trick spearheded Sunderland's win
Adam Johnson's hat-trick spearheded Sunderland's win

Nick Purewal

Hat-trick hero Adam Johnson has "no more excuses" not to reach his potential and drag Sunderland to Premier League safety, according to manager Gus Poyet.

Johnson's first professional hat-trick lifted Sunderland off the foot of the league table as the Black Cats thumped Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage. He also set up Ki Sung-yueng's goal as the hosts were blown away, Steve Sidwell's header proving to be a mere consolation.

Sunderland boss Poyet admitted he will push Johnson's England case as a potential World Cup replacement for injured Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. Uruguayan Poyet said Johnson, capped 11 times for his country, must guide Sunderland to safety to force his way back into the England reckoning.

"I will help him and I will try to help him to put him there," said Poyet. "And I will tell you why: if Johnno makes the World Cup, we are in the Premier League for sure.

"Normally when you reach 26 there are no more excuses. You're experienced enough, but you're not old yet, so you still have the pace and the ability, so that's when you have to be at your best. You understand the game better. I hope that his form now will give us a big opportunity to stay up."

Irish Independent

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