England and Sunderland star Adam Johnson 'abused revered position with girl fan'

England International Adam Johnson on Trial on Sexual Offence Charges

England footballer Adam Johnson "abused his revered position in society" when he had sexual contact with a 15-year-old fan "in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong", prosecutors have said.

The 28-year-old former Sunderland winger went on trial today accused of sexual activity with a child - a teenage girl who said Johnson was her favourite player.

Opening Johnson's trial, prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC said: "It is the crown's case that what has brought the defendant to this courtroom is a sexual desire for (the girl), an excessive arrogance and an unwarranted level of expectation.

"He has abused his revered position in society and, having met (her), this 15-year-old girl, at Sunderland Football Club and later on social media, and knowing that she looked up to him, made a conscious decision to act in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong."

Miss Blackwell told Bradford Crown Court that Johnson played for his country "wearing the England shirt with pride".

She said: "His is the success story that many young people can only dream of."

The prosecutor said the girl involved was 15 in December 2014, a time when Johnson lived with his partner, Stacey Flounders, who was then pregnant with their daughter, in Castle Eden, County Durham.

Miss Blackwell said: "Her (the girl's) real passion was Sunderland Football Club.

"She was a season ticket holder and rarely missed a home game and her favourite player was Adam Johnson.

"After matches, she would hang around waiting for a glimpse of him, wanting to get a photograph, often sporting a Sunderland shirt with Johnson's name emblazoned across the back."