sport

Johnson grateful for Rodgers advice

Lee Johnson says is thankful Brendan Rodgers has taken him under his wing ahead Oldham's FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

Johnson, the Football League's youngest manager at 32, is only eight years Rodgers' junior and knows the challenges of managing League One outfit Oldham are rather different to overseeing affairs at the five-time European Cup winners.

However, part borne out of the fact the Reds boss' son, Anton, is in his squad, Johnson has struck up a close friendship with Rodgers this season.

The latter has taken a keen interest in Johnson's own development and the apprentice thinks the former Watford and Reading boss, who himself entered the managerial arena at a young age, sees certain similarities between the two.

"I liken our relationship to being one-way as far as I'm the ugly one going out with the supermodel," said Johnson, who takes his team to Merseyside for a third-round FA Cup clash on Sunday.

"He hasn't really got to take the effort and time to do what he has done with me. I think he probably sees a little bit of himself with me being so young, loving football and doing my best to play the right way. He's been a nice part of my support group."

Johnson has only been in his first managerial post since March and readily admits he is still finding his feet at Boundary Park, which was the site of Liverpool's FA Cup demise last year.

He has found a willing teacher in Rodgers, though, and he invited the ex-Bristol City midfielder to the Reds' plush training facilities at Melwood recently.

"I've been up there and I'm massively thankful for that," said Johnson.

"I would never expect that amount of time and we do chuck stuff past each other. I'm going to take a lot more from it than he is but it's nice for me to feel valued in my opinion too.

"It's very good for me because it's such a hustle and bustle with the daily stuff (of being a manager). Being so young, I've still got so much learning to do and I need to create that time, to open my mind and enhance that sort of thing.

"He is at one of the best clubs in the world and he's done very well. As a young aspiring manager what better person to look at than someone like him."

Rodgers may be keen to pass on nuggets of useful information to Johnson but he should not expect to find out how Oldham will plot another FA Cup upset in return.

The Latics squad watched a DVD of last season's Matt Smith-inspired win over Luis Suarez and company prior to the first round against Wolves in November, and they may experience a similar galvanising technique before kick-off.

Johnson said: "We've got a little plan which I don't want to divulge to inspire the lads right at the last minute.

"A lot of these players, with such a big turnaround, weren't involved last year but it's proof of what can be done.

"We'll be going there to do our best and try and get a result. Why not? There's nothing for us to lose. They've demoralised better teams than us but on the day we hope we can produce a really good performance."