Raw pace and an uncanny finishing ability saw his name spoken in hushed tones north of the border, and fit again after a long injury absence, there was no hesitation for Johnson about selecting the 24-year-old for his RBS 6 Nations squad.
With just six Glasgow appearances under his belt Johnson has taken a chance, but Maitland, whose father is Scottish, is eager to repay the faith.
Maitland said: "When I first came up here my goal was just to perform with Glasgow, I wasn't thinking about the international stuff at all.
"But when I got here and started hearing my name mentioned it was hard to not to think about it.
"It's something I'm really excited about, it's brilliant to have been selected.
"There is a young squad and there is a clear focus on the future, so it's exciting to be involved with that.
"It's going to be a turning point and a fresh start for the squad and hopefully we can play some good rugby.
"When you look at Glasgow, things are going really well, so the ambition will be to take that form into the Six Nations."
Name-checked by both Johnson, and flanker Kelly Brown, as one of the players to watch, Maitland could have quite an introduction to the international game.
England, riding high on the back of their win over some of Maitland's Crusaders teammates in the autumn internationals, have not lost to the Scots at Twickenham since 1983.
But while the Scots have waited 30 years for success in South West London, Maitland's own experience of the ground is a little sweeter.
In a one-off Super 14 game between the Crusaders and Sharks two years ago, he scored two tries in a scintillating display of running rugby, and Maitland admits it would be great to repeat the trick against the Red Rose.
He added: "That was my first game at Twickenham [in 2011] and it was great to score a couple of tries.
"It's a ground that brings back fond memories, so it would be good to get back out there.
"It 's taken a little while for me to get up to speed, I had a long time out, but I feel like the match fitness is starting to come back now.
"Now I just want to make sure I'm up to 100 percent as quickly as possible, for Scotland and Glasgow."