Dabbling in Spanish lessons has provided Glen Johnson with handy skills within the Liverpool dressing room, the Reds full-back has revealed.
After buying a house in Spain, the 28-year-old England international enrolled on a course to improve his language ability — an obvious bonus around a group containing Portuguese and Spanish speakers.
“I’ve got a house in Spain so I like to try to make the effort and blend in a little bit, if possible,” Johnson told Liverpoolfc.com. ”To be honest, I haven’t had lessons for probably a year now. I did a course and that finished, but I can get by.
“I can get involved with the Spanish group so I guess it helps me out because I can mingle with pretty much everybody. I can understand the Scouse boys. Coutinho can speak a bit of Spanish as well; the lads that can’t speak English can generally speak Spanish so we get by.”
One player with whom Johnson particularly shares a wavelength is English colleague Stewart Downing, who is reaping overdue rewards for his recent positive performances according to the defender.
“He’s been brilliant,” Johnson continued. “I’ve always enjoyed playing with Stewart — I’ve been a big fan of his for many years. We play well together and cause other teams quite a lot of problems.
“Stewart has been fantastic; his work-rate, the way he gets at players and defenses. A lot of the time in football, a lot of hard work can go unnoticed.
“Stewart did knuckle down, put his neck on the line and went for it. It’s great to see that now he’s getting the rewards and credit he deserves.”
Liverpool have recorded the youngest average age in the Barclays Premier League this season and, at 28, Johnson admitted he has graduated into an elder statesman within the group.
“There are times when you see a group of young lads knocking around and you’re six or seven years older than most of them,” he said. ”Obviously this day was always going to come but I don’t feel old in my body so it’s good.
“Everybody is probably different at when they hit their peak but, in general, people have said that around 28 or 29 you hit your peak so we’ll find out.
“When you come through, you always look at the older players to learn from them day in, day out and I’m sure the younger players do the same here.”
Photo via Liverpoolfc.com