MARVIN Johnson could end up as a striker later in his career, according to Oxford United boss Michael Appleton.

The 26-year-old was signed from Motherwell in August as a left winger, but has been used in a variety of roles.

An injury to Joe Skarz in December saw him have a run at left back, while he has also played in a central role off a striker.

With Appleton using the run-in to experiment with his selection, he has picked Johnson, who has seven goals for the side this season, to lead the line in the last three games.

Although the former Kidderminster Harriers youngster has not carried the same threat as in his natural position on the flank, the United boss believes Johnson has the attributes to be successful in the role long-term.

He said: “I think eventually Marvin will end up being a top-class wide player.

“But he’s more than capable of playing at full back – he could play in the middle of the park, he’s just a very good player.

“He’s got fantastic athleticism and speed. Technically he’s good, he’s got a thunderbolt shot and can deliver.

“He’s a good footballer and the higher he goes up (the football pyramid) he will end up being a natural left-sided wide player or a striker.

“He’s got pace that scares the life out of people but he doesn’t know how to use it properly yet.

“We can work on that.”

Appleton’s big hope will be he has more time to work with the highly-rated player, who has been strongly linked with a host of clubs reportedly ready to make a move this summer.