Fabian Johnson expects to play midfield, not full-back vs. Costa Rica
WHIPPANY, New Jersey -- United States international Fabian Johnson says that in his conversations with manager Bruce Arena, the plan ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica is for him to play in midfield, and not at full-back.
Usual right-back DeAndre Yedlin wasn't called up to the U.S. squad as he recovers from a hamstring injury sustained earlier this month. That has led to speculation that Arena might be inclined to play Johnson at that position, where he excelled for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But Johnson, speaking to reporters following Wednesday's training session, said that isn't the plan.
"We talked about it before those camps that [Arena is] going to play me at left mid[field]," he said about his discussions with the U.S. manager.
"So I'm looking forward to playing my position which I'm usually playing and which I'm comfortable with. Yeah, I think that's where I'm going to play."
Johnson has been nursing a back injury over the past few weeks -- one that has limited his minutes with club side Borussia Moenchengladbach this season.
However the 29-year-old got his first action of the campaign last weekend, coming on for the last 10 minutes in a 2-2 draw against Augsburg, and he feels that the additional training sessions this week with the U.S. will have him ready for Friday's match.
"I think the only reason I didn't play the whole 90 with my club team is that I only trained one time," he said. "Obviously it's not enough to get into the starting XI, but I'm in good shape now."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.