Amber Anning could not have wished for a bigger boost in the immediate aftermath of just missing out on the semi-finals of the women's 400 metres at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow.

The Brighton and Hove club teenager was listening intently at trackside as her performance drew praise from Olympic legend Michael Johnson.

The American four-time Olympic goal medalist, including twice in the individual 400 metres, works as an expert summariser nowadays for the BBC.

Johnson was impressed that Anning, 18 (below), had the confidence to run from the front in her heat.

The Argus: That is not her normal game plan. She came from behind to secure her place in the GB team and her senior debut when breaking the 49-year-old women's under-20s record in the trials in Birmingham.

Her time then was 53 seconds flat. She clocked 53.26 seconds yesterday as she was pipped on the line for second place and automatic qualification by France's Agnes Raharolahy.

Further frustration followed, Anning narrowly missing out on last night's semi-finals as one of the fastest losers, even though her time was quicker than the two automatic qualifiers in another heat.

Nevertheless, it was a performance rich in promise to hearten coach Lloyd Cowan, who guided Christine Ohuruogu to Olympic gold in the 400 metres in 2008 in Beijing, ahead of the outdoor season.

Johnson said: "That is the way you should run it. She had quite a gap at the 200-metre mark on some experienced athletes, which tells you she maybe went out a tad too quickly.

"She's got good speed for 200 metres. As a frontrunner you have to know how to be relaxed and not be too tight.

"At the end it just really took a toll. I'm sure Lloyd will be really ecstatic with that race and think 'I've really got something to build on from here'.

"A young athlete not afraid to go out and run from the front indoors is exactly what you want. It shows a tremendous amount of confidence and potential."

The Argus:

Anning's relaxed style of running also impressed Johnson, considering her age and inexperience.

He said: "That's another thing. You normally have to coach that with athletes. I'm sure Lloyd saw that and thought 'I don't have to do a lot here from a technical standpoint', especially over 400 metres.

"Normally with young athletes they are all over the place. She was very relaxed, working hard at the end but able to maintain composure, which is exactly what you want out of a 400-metre runner."

The different tactics and disappointment at coming so close to qualifying are part of the learning process for BHASVIC student Anning, who has the European under-20s Championships in Sweden as her main summer target.

She said: "It was hard. I just tied up a bit in the last couple of metres. I'm not used to front-running all the time. I'm always at the back and kind of charge through.

"It was different for me. My coach just said go out and try to hit 300 hard and keep it going. It just wasn't enough. I'm happy with my run."