Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson 'to deny' child sex charges
England and Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson will deny having sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl, a court has been told.
The 27-year-old, from Castle Eden, County Durham, was arrested in March.
His solicitor told magistrates in Peterlee he intended to deny three counts of sexual activity with a child under 16 and another of grooming.
The player was released on conditional bail to appear before Durham Crown Court on 3 June.
The court was told the three counts of sexual activity with a child are alleged to have taken place on one night in January at two locations in County Durham, while the grooming offence was said to have happened between December and February.
Born in Sunderland, Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then Sunderland for £10m in 2012.
During the five-minute hearing, his solicitor, Paul Morris, indicated he would plead not guilty when he next appeared in court.
He did not comment as he left court with his partner Stacey Flounders and was driven away in a Range Rover.