Johnson given assurances over 2011 World Cup

ENGLAND chiefs are standing firm behind under-fire manager Martin Johnson, insisting his job is secure despite a turbulent autumn.<br /><br />Johnson&rsquo;s England were beaten 19-6 by New Zealand on Saturday, a result that followed defeat to Australia and a narrow win over Argentina this month.<br /><br />And yet despite a record of eight defeats from his 14 matches in charge &ndash; and fresh attacks from ex-captain Will Carling and Northampton full-back Ben Foden yesterday &ndash; the former Leicester lock has the support of Rugby Football Union chairman Martyn Thomas.<br /><br />&ldquo;He has my confidence to continue and carry on. He will lead us into the 2011 World Cup for sure,&rdquo; Thomas said. &ldquo;The guy is an outstanding character. This is a guy who doesn&rsquo;t walk away from things. He&rsquo;s an excellent man-manager, he was a great captain on the field and is an outstanding man.&rdquo;<br /><br />Prior to the vastly improved performance against the All Blacks, Johnson and his coaching staff had been widely criticised for England&rsquo;s apparent lack of direction and game plan.<br /><br />Players past and present have waded in with their own damning verdicts &ndash; Carling blasting an England outfit that only managed one try during their three-match series.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was a very brave and fiery performance by England but in attack we are way off the mark at the moment,&rdquo; Carling said. &ldquo;Our attacking platform is very, very static, very slow, and we are so predictable, that&rsquo;s the bit that worries me.&rdquo;<br /><br />Some believe Johnson&rsquo;s poor selection has led to England&rsquo;s faltering attack. With Delon Armitage injured, there was a golden opportunity to select the in-form Foden, but Johnson declined &ndash; to the player&rsquo;s disgust.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m pretty livid,&rdquo; said Foden. &ldquo;I saw these matches as a massive opportunity for me. There&rsquo;s been very little feedback from England.&rdquo;<br /><br />But despite the negative press, Thomas remains adamant the RFU has the right man for the job and maintains they will support Johnson with any decisions he makes regarding his coaching staff.&nbsp; <br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m perfectly comfortable that Martin Johnson is the right man. If he decides he wants to do something then so be it, we&rsquo;ll back him,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;At the moment Martin has made it clear he is happy with his coaching team.&rdquo; <br /><br />There was more bad news for Johnson yesterday, however. Joe Worsley, injured in the first minute at Twickenham, needs a scan after tearing medial ligaments in his knee.