Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce revealed that he was shocked when Adam Johnson pleaded guilty to two child sex charges last month.
Allardyce broke his silence on the matter, saying that he felt ‘extremely let down’ at what had transpired with the axed winger.
The Black Cats boss explained that Johnson continued to be fielded before the trial because he had told the club that he was innocent.
The 28-year-old faces several years in jail after the guilty verdict this week over sexually activities with a 15-year-old.
“I am hugely disappointed on Adam Johnson and what has happened, but my sympathies don’t lie with him, they lie with the victim and the family,” Allardyce told the Guardian.
“Adam, as far as I know, was pleading not guilty all the way through from the day I arrived – obviously, this incident had happened well before I got here. On the basis of that information to me that he was pleading not guilty on all charges is why we continued to let him train and play for us.
“We are all, at the football club, stunned and shocked the day before the trial started when we heard a guilty plea come out. I was sat at home when it came on the news and I just was gobsmacked because as far as we were concerned, it was not guilty on all charges.”