Connor Wickham has been playing on the wing for much of this season.
He achieved this feat playing as an out-and-out striker, but, despite his impressive form, his place in Gus Poyet’s starting XI this season has usually seen him thrust into wide positions. Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore have been utilised as lone frontmen this term, and Wickham has suffered, having found the net just twice in 15 games.
His form appeared to be lacking, and there were doubts that the 21-year-old former Ipswich man would be willing to extend his contract at the Stadium of Light whilst his position was under threat. However, strong performances against Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool brought an increased confidence in the youngster, and he agreed a new contract to keep him on Wearside until 2019.
“What he did for us at the back end of last season and up until now, it would have been a disaster to lose him,” Johnson told the Chronicle. “To let someone go with his potential, and how young he is.
“I’m sure there were a lot of teams wanting to take him, especially on a free. But I think it was only going to be a matter of time, he took his time and did what was right for him.”
Despite impressing on the wing and in wide positions in recent games, Johnson believes that Wickham has to revert to his natural striking position in the near future, as he has ‘too man attributes not to be a striker’.
He added: “I think he will eventually go back to being a striker, he’s got too many attributes not to be a striker.
“For his age, the size of him, his strength and pace, I think he will eventually go back up front when you see what he can offer.”