Johnson has will power

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

The 20-year-old is one of Canada's most experienced players heading into the Under-20 World Cup.

Johnson played in all three games with Canada at the 2005 tournament and has played 26 games with the U-20 side. He made his Under-20 debut in December, 2004 as a 17 year old.

"Will is an attacking midfielder," said Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell. "We try to get him into good spots where he can turn and take on defences. He likes running with ball and holding on to it. But he can also, at the right time, slide a pass through or get a good strike on goal."

The Canadian attack often starts with Johnson. As the fulcrum of a five-man midfield, Johnson is responsible for sending balls through to the lone Canadian striker or knocking them out wide to players on the wing.

Johnson has scored four goals for the U-20 side including one in an exhibition win against Brazil last summer.

"I would definitely say this team is more talented than the last team," Johnson said. "It's good that we have guys that can play football and it's going to help against other teams that also want to play that kind of style against us.

"We have a lot of pace up front so it's good that we have skilled guys that can get the ball to those guys up front. We need to get the ball up to those guys in dangerous situations so that we can win games."

As one of the team's veterans, the pressure will be on Johnson to help get Canada out of the first round of the tournament. It'll be a tough chore with Chile, Austria and the Congo in their group.

"I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we said there wasn't pressure," Johnson said. "But at the same time, why shouldn't we be able to get out of the group? We think we're a good team and we're going to go out and show everybody that we are a good team."

WILL JOHNSON

#10 Canada

Born in Toronto but grew up in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States ... Grandfather Brian Birch played for Bolton in England ... Signed with Blackburn Rovers in 2003 and Chicago Fire in 2005 ... Now plays for SC Heerenveen in Netherlands ... Played with Canada at the world youth championships in 2005, played all 90 minutes in three games ... Played his first game with senior national team as an 18 year old, coming on as a substitute in the 84th minute in a 1-0 win over Luxembourg.


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