Sunderland have sacked winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
The club announced on Thursday evening that the 28-year-old former England international’s contract had been terminated, a day after he had admitted one count of grooming and another of sexual activity with a child at Bradford Crown Court.
A statement said: “In light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect. The club will make no further comment.”
Johnson denies two further charges of sexual activity with a child and his trial is due to resume on Friday.
Sunderland are understood to have been shocked at Wednesday’s guilty pleas, having allowed their £10 million signing from Manchester City to resume his career after initially suspending him following his arrest in March last year.
The news came just hours after boot sponsor Adidas announced that they had terminated their contract with Johnson in a brief statement.
An Adidas spokesman said: “We’ve terminated Adam Johnson’s contract with immediate effect following his guilty plea on Wednesday. We’ve issued letters and verbally confirmed that with his management.”
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce had earlier confirmed that Johnson would not be involved in the squad for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United.
Sunderland-born Johnson emerged from the academy set-up at Middlesbrough as a teenager, winning a £7m move to City in February 2010.
However, he lasted just two-and-a-half years in the blue half of Manchester as he found himself surplus to requirements, and then Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill felt he had staged something of a coup in luring him back to Wearside with a £10m bid during the summer of 2012.
The winger’s early form for the Black Cats saw him return to the England squad, although he has found the going tougher in recent years.
In all, he made 141 appearances for the club, 29 of them as a substitute, and scored 22 goals, the last of them his side’s first in a 2-2 league draw at Liverpool on Saturday.