25 Mar 2016

Ex-England player jailed for child sex crime

10:08 am on 25 March 2016

Former England international football player Adam Johnson has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of sex offences involving an underage 15-year-old girl.

Johnson, 28, who was sacked by Premier League club Sunderland in February, was convicted earlier this month of sexual activity with a child, having already admitted kissing and grooming the teenager.

Former Manchester City and Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court on March 2, 2016 PAUL ELLIS / AFP

Former Manchester City and Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson arrives at court Photo: AFP

"Adam Johnson exploited a young star-struck fan, actively grooming her over a number of months in single-minded pursuit of his own sexual gratification," said Gerry Wareham from Britain's Crown Prosecution Service outside Bradford Crown Court in northern England.

"This situation had a devastating effect on the young victim and it is my sincere hope that she and her family will be granted the respect and space they deserve to recover and rebuild their lives."

The winger, who has played 12 times for England, began his career at Middlesbrough and also played for Manchester City before joining Sunderland for 10 million pounds ($NZ21 million) in 2012 on a four-year contract.

Adam Johnson of Sunderland celebrates victory.

Adam Johnson celebrates a Sunderland victory Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He had been a regular for the northeast side this season until the start of his trial and scored in his last appearance in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool last month.

Johnson was suspended by Sunderland in March 2015 after being arrested but two weeks later the club lifted the ban.

Sunderland's Chief Executive Margaret Byrne resigned two weeks ago over her role in the decision to allow Johnson to continue playing for the team.