Johnson, 27, was arrested in March on suspicion of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
His solicitor, Paul Morris, told a hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court that Johnson intends to deny the charges when they are formally put before him.
Johnson, who has been capped 12 times by England, appeared at court accompanied by his partner, Stacey Flounders, and was bailed to appear before Durham Crown Court on June 3.
He left without speaking to reporters.
The court heart that the three counts of sexual activity with a child are alleged to have taken place on one night in January at two locations, with the grooming offence said to have occurred between December and February.
Johnson was initially suspended by Sunderland pending the outcome of police investigations, but has since returned to action for the club, who are fighting to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Johnson began his career with Middlesbrough and returned to his native northeast in 2012 when he joined Sunderland from Manchester City in a £10 million ($15 million, 13 million euros) deal.