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Roy Hodgson condemns Adam Johnson as footballer begins jail term

Published 26/03/2016

Footballer Adam Johnson arriving at Bradford Crown Court
Footballer Adam Johnson arriving at Bradford Crown Court

England manager Roy Hodgson has joined the widespread condemnation of disgraced footballer Adam Johnson after the former England winger was jailed for six years for engaging in sexual activity with a teenage fan.

Johnson, 28, has spent his first day behind bars after he was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court by a judge who said he had caused a 15-year-old "severe psychological harm" by his actions.

The former Sunderland and Manchester City player won 12 caps for England, two of them under Hodgson.

The England manager was asked about the case as he prepared for Saturday's friendly against Germany in Berlin.

Sitting with England defender Gary Cahill, Hodgson said: "My views on the subject are no different to anybody else's, any reasonable human being.

"I condemn what he did and unfortunately he has to pay the price for it, but I don't think it should be linked in particular to England, the fact he once played for England or that we once were actually quite a lot closer to him when he was a player under my leadership and a colleague of Gary's (Cahill)."

Hodgson said: " He was chosen purely and simply on his footballing ability at that time and we took advantage of it. Since that time, of course, circumstances have contrived to put him in the position where he is today.

"I have no wish to sort-of comment on the case itself. I think enough has been said, enough has been done."

On Thursday, Johnson's barrister Orlando Pownall QC told the judge his client had been stripped of his England caps.

Despite Mr Pownall's assertion, Press Association Sport understands that this is not the case. No other England internationals with criminal convictions have been stripped of their caps.

Asked whether Johnson should keep his England caps, Hodgson said: "I have no idea about that. I didn't know you could take England caps away.

"You'd have to go to the FA with that one if that is something which is done on a regular basis, if people who sin in some way have to give caps back. I've never heard of that."

Johnson was jailed after he was found guilty of sexual activity with the teenager in his Range Rover in County Durham last year. He had already admitted kissing the girl and grooming her with hundreds of social media messages.

The judge who jailed him heard how the footballer suffers from compulsive sexual behaviour and would meet many women for sexual encounters.

After the case, it was revealed Johnson had also been arrested for possession of extreme pornographic images - thought to be bestiality related - although police are taking no further action in relation to this.

An earlier hearing, which can now be reported, also heard how police found medicine at Johnson's £1.8 million mansion which can be used to treat sexually transmitted infections.

Johnson did not enter his guilty pleas until the beginning of his trial which meant he played on for Sunderland for months after his arrest in March 2015.

The controversy that surrounded Sunderland's role in this decision led to the resignation of club chief executive Margaret Byrne.

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor admitted the winger was unlikely to play again.

Taylor said in an interview with BBC Sport that his organisation took the issue of child protection "very seriously", but accepted the Johnson case was an "example of something going badly wrong".

"It's anything but good. It's very damaging for the reputation of the game," Taylor said.

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