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By ESPN Staff

Johnson sent for surgery, Ireland row

Sven-Goran Eriksson will send Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson for an operation later today that is likely to keep the youngster out for three weeks.

The England Under-21 international was forced out of City's 1-0 win over Sunderland at half-time following a recurrence of the groin injury which has plagued him for most of the season.

Although it was hoped Johnson would avoid surgery, Eriksson confirmed the situation has become intolerable.

And, after a planned meeting between Eriksson and the City medical staff, a decision seems sure to be taken for Johnson to go under the knife.

'Michael cannot go on like this,' confirmed the Swede.

'He is only a young man but he cannot train the day after a match.

'He came to me at half-time and said he couldn't run anymore.

'We must decide whether to send him for an operation and, with the international break, now would be a good time.

'I am not sure how long he will be out but I don't think it will be any more than two or three weeks.'

With Johnson sidelined, Eriksson must hope the Football Association do not take a dim view of matchwinner Stephen Ireland's goal celebrations.

The 21-year-old, who has already been in his fair share of trouble this term after inventing the death of both grandmothers to cover up his partner's miscarriage during Republic of Ireland duty earlier this season, belted home City's second-half winner, then pulled down his shorts to reveal a pair of pants bearing the Superman logo.

Given the match was beamed live around the world, it is unlikely the FA will let the matter pass without some kind of intervention.

'I saw his celebration,' observed Eriksson. 'Superman - super goal.

'Maybe the FA will look at it - but I hope not.

'Stephen's reaction to what happened earlier this season has been extremely positive,' he said.

'He has been training very well, I am just a little bit surprised it has taken him a bit of time to play better because he is an extremely good player with a lot of talent.'

Eriksson also confirmed Nedum Onuoha will be sidelined for around 10 days with a groin problem, while Micah Richards felt fit enough to stride into the home dressing room to inform his manager his knee injury had eased sufficiently for him to play in Sunday's mouth-watering clash with fellow top-four hopefuls Portsmouth at Fratton Park, which is good news for England coach Steve McClaren.

While most observers felt at least a modicum of sympathy for Sunderland boss Roy Keane, who side were worthy of a point for their industry alone, the former Manchester United star - predictably booed everytime he left his dug-out - was not in the mood to receive it.

'I don't feel hard done by,' he said.

'We didn't deserve anything because I don't feel we did enough to get anything out of the game. I don't think their goalkeeper had too many saves to make did he?

'They produced that one bit of quality and they scored.'

Meanwhile, City have confirmed midfielder Michael Johnson will undergo abdominal surgery within the next 24 hours.

The 19-year-old was substituted at half-time yesterday after being troubled by an injury that has hampered him for most of the season so far.

Eriksson told the club's official website: 'He cannot go on like this because he plays but then cannot train for a few days.

'We all know what a talent he is, he should be getting better, but he is in pain one day and not on the next, so he's not taking that step forward. He would do if he was fit.'