Johnson walked into Peterlee Magistrates Court with his partner on Monday after being charged with three offences of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and one of grooming.
The England international spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, address and that he understood the charges in a brief appearance in Court One.
During the five-minute hearing, his solicitor, Paul Morris, indicated he would??plead not guilty. No pleas were entered.
Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, was arrested in March after he was accused of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
The three counts of sexual activity with a child were said to have taken place in January, while the meeting a child after sexual grooming offence was said to have happened between December and February.
Johnson, 27, has played six times for Sunderland since his arrest and is expected to be available for Dick Advocaat???s side in midweek after the court date was moved.
The Sunderland-born player began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City.
Johnson failed to secure a regular starting place under Roberto Mancini at City and moved to the Stadium of Light for ??10m in 2012.