New Fulham signing Andy Johnson has revealed that he left Everton for the Cottagers for purely footballing reasons, with the England International also claiming that Fulham play a better brand of football than the Toffees.
27-year-old Johnson made the switch to Craven Cottage in a £10.5million deal from the Merseyside club this summer, after becoming frustrated at the lack of opportunities to play as a central-striker.
Johnson says he grew frustrated at the 4-5-1 formation favoured by manager David Moyes, which saw Yakubu occupy the strikers role, while he was asked to play out of position. Due to the lack of midfielder’s at Everton, the former Crystal Palace forward was often deployed on the right of midfield for Everton under Moyes. Which Johnson claims did not suit his style, with Moyes tending to favour the long ball.
However, now at Fulham, Johnson has been surprised at the footballing prowess of the West London side, with the striker insisting that Fulham play the game in the right way.
“I just can't believe how well we pass the ball,” Johnson said.
“I knew we had some top players but I've been surprised just how good they actually are. We don't ever play long balls, we always try to do it the right way, and it's fabulous for me because we played a lot of long-ball stuff at Everton.
“I will always have good memories of Everton but I have to admit that it had reached the stage where I wasn't enjoying my football there. Moving back south was a factor and always something I wanted to do, but the biggest factor was being happy - and the truth was I didn't feel happy during the end of my time at Everton.
“I'd like to put the record straight because it's been said that I fell out with David Moyes. The truth is that we never had one argument. We got on really well and I've got a lot of respect for him.
“The problem came down to wanting to play in my best position and the fact I was either out of the team or stuck on the right wing, in a position I didn't like. David liked to play 4-5-1, which basically meant there were four strikers going for one place. Yak [Yakubu] was on fire and there was a lack of midfielders at the club, which meant me playing on the right. It wasn't my position and I was frustrated because I wanted to play through the middle. I was stuck out on the right wing for nine or 10 games and I just think, over time, I lost a bit of confidence and, with that, my form. That's when I stopped enjoying my football.
“I never caused a problem in the dressing room, I never banged on the manager's door. I kept my head down because I know that footballers are paid an awful lot of money and there's a responsibility to the fans. But it was hard. I don't think anyone at Everton sensed I was unhappy because I made sure I wasn't all doom and gloom around the club but deep down, when I went home, that was when I really felt it.
“In the end I decided I needed to move to get my career back on track. I thought about it all summer. My little boy was starting school in September and I didn't want to hang around and, come Christmas, have to take him out of his new school after only three months. They [Everton] were short of money and, at the stage, hadn't brought in any more midfielders, so I was thinking, 'As soon as we get a couple of injuries, am I going to be stuck out on the right again?' It was make-or-break time.”