English Premier League strugglers Sunderland have sacked Adam Johnson in the wake of the midfielder pleading guilty to two child sex offences involving a 15-year-old girl.
Johnson, who has 12 England caps, could face more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of grooming a teenager and one count of kissing her in a sexual manner at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT).
But he continued to deny two further alleged offences involving the same girl, and will now stand trial, with the prosecution expected to begin outlining its case against him on Friday (local time).
A Sunderland statement read: "In light of Adam Johnson's guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect."
Johnson's guilty pleas mean he could face a maximum sentence of two and a half years in prison.
If found guilty of the more serious offences, which he denies, he could be jailed for a maximum of 14 years.
Sportswear firm Adidas said in a statement that it had cancelled its boot contract with the player.
Johnson, who began his career at Middlesbrough and also played for Manchester City, joined Sunderland for £10 million ($14.46 million) in 2012 on a four-year contract.
He has been a regular for the north-east side this season and scored in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool last week.
When asked about the winger's future at a news conference earlier on Thursday, manager Sam Allardyce said: "He'll not be available for this weekend. We will see how it goes after that."
Reuters, The London Telegraph
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