Winger eyes Boro chance

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Middlesbrough starlet Adam Johnson is desperate to be given a chance to replace Stewart Downing.

18-year-old Johnson has been making big strides over the past 12 months, but his path to the first team looked blocked with both Downing and Bolo Zenden in his way.

Zenden has departed for Liverpool and Downing has been ruled out of with a knee injury for four months - leaving the way open for the young Wearsider.

Johnson, who made his England Under-19 bow on Tuesday - is hoping he can catch the eye of manager Steve McClaren - who handed him his first team debut last season in the Uefa Cup tie at Sporting Lisbon.

McClaren, who is expected to hand first team debuts to Fabio Rochemback and Abel Xavier against Arsenal on Saturday - could also include Johnson for his Premiership bow.

"A few of the lads have been winding me up saying I'll be starting against Arsenal," said Johnson.

"If it does happen I'll take my chance. I believe in myself.

"People say I am an old-fashioned winger and that I'm like Stewart, and if I can follow in his footsteps I will be delighted."