Adam Johnson: Sunderland not expected to select midfielder for Manchester United match after guilty plea

The midfielder pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl this week

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The Independent Football

Adam Johnson is not expected to play for Sunderland against Manchester United this weekend, with the club understood to be backtracking from plans to continue picking the midfielder during his trial on charges of sexual activity and grooming of a minor. 

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce indicated last weekend that he expected to continue considering the midfielder for selection, however Johnson's guilty plea to one count of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming, which is reported to have come as a shock to the Premier League club, has changed that stance.

Johnson's trial at Bradford crown court begins on Friday with the 28-year-old denying two other counts of sexual activity with a schoolgirl. 

The club have been supportive of their £10m signing after the charges were brought against him. They suspended Johnson following his arrest on 2 March last year, however the club lifted that ban two weeks later when Johnson had his bail extended. 

Johnson returned to the side and became a regular, playing a total of eight times before the season was over as Sunderland picked up a number of positive results to escape relegation from the Premier League. 

Johnson has remained an integral part of the Black Cats squad this term, playing in 19 of Sunderland's 25 Premier League games. 

Despite his upcoming court appearance, the 28-year-old was in action last weekend, scoring in a dramatic comeback at Anfield that saw Sunderland draw 2-2 with Liverpool. 

Sunderland are currently 19th in the Premier League table, four points from safety. They host Manchester United at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.