Johnson ready for 'biggest game'

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Andrew Johnson admits the Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel will be the biggest game of his career if he is selected to start for England.

The Everton striker is expected to be given his first start in a competitive international and be given the nod to partner Wayne Rooney up front in Tel Aviv.

He is full of confidence after scoring the winner against Arsenal last Sunday and is determined to make the most of his opportunity.

"At this stage in my career, I don't think it gets any bigger than this," said Johnson.

"If I am chosen it would be my first start in a qualifier. I've obviously started in friendlies but they are nowhere near as important as this game on Saturday evening.

"Part of my game is being quick and sharp, and playing off someone like Wayne.

"To score last weekend and win going into an England camp was the best thing for me."

Johnson, who was never a regular squad member under Sven Goran Eriksson, concedes that he does feel more settled following recent praise from Steve McClaren.

He explained: "Steve is a top manager and to hear those comments means a lot to me because it feels like I'm more part of the England setup than maybe I was 18 months ago.

"It felt good coming into the camp with those comments behind me. I've been involved in the last seven or eight squads whereas before it was a little bit in and out and I was in the Championship for a season as well.

"I was never too sure if I was going to get called up so it's nice to have been involved so much recently."

Several of the players in the England squad played twice in three days last weekend but Johnson has only played two games this month and insists he is fresh and well-prepared.

"I think you've got to prepare from days ago. You've always got to have it in your head. If then you don't start, you were prepared anyway," he said.

"But if you do start, then you've been preparing for a few days and you are ready. You've got to be focused.

"I feel good. With Everton, before last weekend, we had a couple of weeks without a game and the gaffer took us away so I feel recuperated and rested."