October of 2015 had been a time to forget internationally for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder/defender Fabian Johnson.
In October, Johnson was sent home by USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann before their friendly against Costa Rica. The factor that influenced the German tactician’s decision happened in the Gold Cup final against Mexico, where Johnson was asking to get subbed off in extra-time.
Klinsmann was furious, according to his interview with Fox Sports .
“I had a very severe word with Fabian Johnson and I sent him home today….The situation had occurred there at the end of the game where he said he couldn’t go any more and I reacted to it and obviously made the substitution. He just feared to possibly get an injury, but he was not injured in that moment. He got all stiffened up. It was a muscle issue. It’s normal.”
From Klinsmann’s choice words to reporters, he attacked Johnson’s character.
From that point on, it certainly galvanized Johnson, because he’s upped his game at the Club level.
Johnson has played every minute for new manager Andre Schubert after taking over for Lucien Favre, who resigned in September. He has been playing in a more advanced role under Schubert, which is paying dividends for himself. Johnson has 4 goals and one assist so far this campaign, with his 2 goal game in a draw against Hoffenheim, and his performance against Bayern Munich in which he grabbed a second half goal have been the highlights of his season so far.
His performances in the Bundesliga have brought much delight to club vice president Rainer Bonhof. He was quoted saying that Johnson’s “efficiency, productivity and coolness in front of goal” has added a different dimension to the club and Bonhof gives credit to his hard work and him “willing to sacrifice himself for the team.” According to ESPN FC.
To top it off, the local newspaper has given him the nickname “Magic Johnson”.
Johnson has also been able to translate his performances in the Bundesliga to the Champions League, which he has set the continent on fire with aplomb. He had a performance to remember against last year’s Europa League winner Sevilla, where he scored a goal to remember and notched an assist in their 4-2 drubbing of Los Rojiblancos. Excelling at the highest level of club football can only make Klinsmann smile with glee.
Fabian Johnson still can’t understand why, or even point a finger where he is improving under Schubert, stating “That the change is like a new wind.” according to Deutsche Weller.
He has long since returned to the USMNT, earning a start against St. Vincent & The Grenadines in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying in early November.
Whatever Klinsmann said, it certainly woke up the beast in Fabian Johnson.