Sunderland will not consider Adam Johnson for selection for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light.
This is according to Goal, who understand Sunderland have dropped the England international winger after he pleaded guilty to counts of sexual activity with a child and grooming on Wednesday.
It’s unclear whether Johnson, who also denied two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16, will ever play again for Sunderland or, indeed, another football club again.
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Sunderland initially suspended Johnson following his arrest last March but played him during the final weeks of the 2014-15 campaign after his bail was extended by Durham Police.
The 28-year-old has made 19 league appearances for the Black Cats this term, scoring two goals, and his absence will come as a blow to manager Sam Allardyce.
Johnson probably would have started against United
Johnson came off the bench with 25 minutes remaining against Liverpool last weekend and scored his second goal of the season in the 82nd minute. Jermain Defoe then stuck the equaliser on the stroke of full-time to rescue a precious point for the north-east outfit.
Allardyce almost certainly would have started Johnson this weekend had the winger been cleared - the experienced manager expected the player would be available to play during the two-week court case - but the situation has now changed.
Sunderland, though, are refusing to make a comment on the former Manchester City winger’s continued employment until legal hearings are concluded.
Sunderland face tough task v United
Allardyce’s side currently sit second to bottom in the Premier League table - four points adrift of 17th-placed Newcastle United - and have their work cut out to beat Manchester United this weekend.
Louis van Gaal’s men, who beat Sunderland 3-0 back in September, have only suffered one defeat in their previous nine matches and should have made it three wins on the bounce against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
United led thanks to Jesse Lingard’s 61st-minute goal but, following a couple of individual mistakes, conceded a 90th-minute equaliser converted by Diego Costa.
That result left the Red Devils fifth in the Premier League table, six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
News that Johnson won’t be in contention this weekend will come as a boost to Van Gaal.
Will Johnson play another Premier League match?
On his day, the left-footed winger is capable of winning matches; however, it could be argued that he has failed to fulfil his huge potential over the years.
Whether we will ever see Johnson lining up in a Premier League match again is now doubtful.
Is this the end of Adam Johnson’s career as a professional footballer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.