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Sep 8, 2010

Johnson hails belief in new-look England side

England's new midfield talent Adam Johnson says the country are "full of confidence" after starting their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with two comfortable victories over Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Capello impressed by Rooney

• Forum: Perfect start for England?
• Euro 2012 qualifying round-up
• Euro 2012 qualifying gallery
• Gerrard: We tore Swiss apart
• Blog: Lescott got deserved call

After a dismal World Cup campaign, Capello and his players have been under considerable pressure to deliver for their supporters and Tuesday's impressive 3-1 victory in Switzerland built on a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley on Friday.

Memories of that insipid campaign in South Africa are fading, not least thanks to the contributions of a fresh clutch of players led by Johnson, who has scored in both games as a substitute and on Tuesday produced a dazzling display.

The Manchester City winger says the national side is full of belief once again and that taking maximum points from two games has put England in a favourable position.

"We've come off the back of two great wins and everyone is happy," Johnson said. "It's a great two results and we're looking forward to meeting up again full of confidence.

"Coming into the qualifying group, there was a lot of pressure on us. I think with two wins, we're top of the group, we're full of confidence and we want to push on."

Johnson started the game on the bench but replaced the injured Theo Walcott early in the first half and looked dangerous when cutting in from the right wing onto his favoured left foot.

The City midfielder now hopes he can secure a regular starting place under Capello, having scored two goals in four appearances for his country.

"The aim is to make a contribution," he said. "You're disappointed not to be starting. "You want to do your best when you come on and try to push to get into the starting XI.

"I've tried to do that and I've got a couple of goals to show my efforts but it's up to the manager."

Darren Bent was another player who was disappointed to miss out on the World Cup but the Sunderland striker also scored after coming on as a substitute against Switzerland to claim his first international goal. Bent knows he has to keep on scoring for his club if he is to give himself the best chance of enjoying a regular place at international level.

"I never thought my England chances would fade, as long as my Premier League form is good, international football will never be too far away," Bent said. "I started the season like I finished last season. It is frustrating sometimes but I have to keep going and work hard.

"When the chances come, you have to take them. My mum and dad, from when I could kick a ball until now, were my driving force. When I get on the coach I will phone them. Dad knows his stuff as he played football when younger. He always said never give up."

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