Sunderland fires Adam Johnson after guilty plea

Adam Johnson, left, in action for Sunderland. (Scott Heppell/AP)

SUNDERLAND, England — Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that "in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect."

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).

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