Berhalter: "Sean Johnson improved a lot"
During a conference call Thursday after the roster was announced, Berhalter would not speculate about what has limited the 6-foot-3 Atlanta native on the international stage, but he did specify a technical upgrade that made him want Johnson in camp.
“It’s more seeing his transformation in playing with his feet,” Berhalter said. “In Chicago, he was not that comfortable with his feet. When Patrick (Vieira) took over and brought him in (to NYCFC), he improved.”
There was mutual admiration between Berhalter and Vieira, in part because of their similar philosophies – which include building from the back and through the keeper.
Berhalter also noted Johnson’s willingness to expand on deficiencies in his game.
“It was that improvement that intrigued me,” Berhalter said. “When you see a player that age continue to improve, that is impressive.”