|One of the few players to score more than one goal on his England debut, Ipswich Town striker
David Johnson certainly gave Don Revie food for thought when he netted a brace in a 2-2 draw
with Wales during the 1975 Home International tournament, though the leaky defence, which
contained more experimental personnel, gave him more immediate post-match ponderings.
Johnson scored against Scotland in the next game too, as England trounced the auld enemy 5-1,
and played his part without scoring in a friendly win over Switzerland three months later.
With Mick Channon then hitting some rich scoring form, and Malcolm Macdonald still basking
on his five-goal show earlier in the year, it seemed England were suddenly blessed with bulky,
target-man finishers for Revie to chop and change as he saw fit.
But this was the Revie world, and players were somehow deemed dispensible even after a scintillating
burst of form for England, and Johnson suffered from this with many others. He didn't get a sniff again
for five years, by which time he'd moved to Liverpool, scored freely and won the highest domestic
and European honours. His most famous England showing came on a balmy May evening at Wembley
when he scored two cracking opportunist goals against Argentina in a friendly which gave English eyes
their first sight of a baby faced Diego Maradona, and he followed it up with a well-taken goal against
Northern Ireland in the Home Internationals. Though a late contender to the scene, his knack of scoring
the right goals at the right time was not lost on Ron Greenwood, who put Johnson in his squad for the
1980 European Championships in Italy. Johnson started the first game, a 1-1 draw with Belgium, but
fellow big men Garry Birtles and Paul Mariner were used subsequently and England's own collective
disappointment at their early elimination was felt doubly by Johnson, who wasn't called up again.
Six goals in eight games remains an extremely impressive record, even allowing for the small number
of games involved. (Matthew Rudd). David Johnson died on Wednesday 23rd November 2022
of throat cancer, aged 71.