Johnson began his football career in Middlesbrough's youth academy, working his way through the ranks and winning the FA Youth Cup in 2004. He made his debut for Middlesbrough in 2005 aged 17, and deputised for England winger Stuart Downing for the best part of three seasons, mainly wearing number 18. During that period Johnson had loan spells at Leeds and Watford, before Middlesbrough were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.
With Downing's departure to Aston Villa, Johnson became the attacking mainstay of Middlesbrough's team in the Championship, scoring twelve goals in 28 appearances in the first half of the 2009-2010 season. With his contract running out, Middlesbrough sold Adam to Manchester City on the 1st of February for a reported £7 million, where he would occupy shirt number 11. During his time in the north-east Johnson scored twenty-one times in 121 appearances, during six seasons at Boro.
Adam Johnson has spent most of his time at Manchester City as a squad player and match winner off the bench. He is mainly used as a left winger in a forward trio, but with so much attacking talent at the club he hasn't been able to solidify a starting position. 2011 saw him earn his first silverware in the FA Cup, coming off the bench right before Yaya Touré's winner against Stoke. Adam Johnson signed for Sunderland in August 2012 for £10 million.
Johnson's international career started with caps for England U17s and U21s before being called up for his international debut against Hungary in August 2010. He scored twice for England during UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying, and is set to be a part of Fabio Capello's squad for the European Championships in 2012.