he American influence at Craven Cottage lured Eddie Johnson to Fulham and although the club are deep in relegation trouble he is convinced he made the right move.

The striker’s performances for the United States — he scored seven goals during the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign — made him a target for Derby, Benfica, Boca Juniors and Real Sociedad.

But Johnson remained with Kansas City Wizards until January when Fulham boss Roy Hodgson persuaded the 23-year-old to join the club’s American contingent in a £1million deal.

“I knew where they were in the table but that didn’t stop me wanting to come here,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s must-win game at Derby.

“I’ve always followed the Premier League and because there were already Americans at Fulham [Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, Kasey Keller and Carlos Bocanegra] I thought they were a great team. Now I’m here I know in my heart they’re a great team.

“All the qualities are there to stay up, it’s about us being confident.”

The size of the task, though, is growing each week with Fulham four points from safety and with only seven games to go. So tomorrow’s match against a team doomed to a quick return to the Championship is vital and Johnson would love to break his Fulham duck.

Despite scoring 15 goals in 27 games in his final season with the Wizards, he has managed only one shot on target in four starts for his new club. Johnson, though, has not lost heart and draws on his experiences from his upbringing in a tough area of Florida to drive him on.

Speaking at the launch in East Mitcham of ‘Kickz’, a scheme by Fulham’s Community Sports Trust to bring football to youngsters, he said: “All my life I’ve been a fighter.

“That’s why I will give my all.”