A teenage Premier League and England footballer will stand trial over the alleged assault of a woman in Liverpool, a court has heard.
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, 18, is charged with common assault after a 27-year-old woman, who is known to the player, suffered "slight" facial injuries, police said.
Sterling did not attend the hearing at Liverpool Magistrates' Court today but was allowed to enter a formal not guilty plea to the charges through his solicitor, Mick Hogan.
It was the third hearing in relation to the allegation that the footballer has not attended and District Judge Lloyd issued a warning to him that the trial would go ahead without him on May 20 if he failed to turn up.
She said: "I am sure he understands that he will need to attend. If he doesn't the trial will proceed without him."
Earlier in the short hearing District Judge Lloyd questioned his absence, saying: "It would be much more useful if he was here. But anyway, there it is. We have got what we have got."
The offence allegedly took place in the Toxteth area of the city on November 2.
Sterling was initially summonsed to Liverpool Youth Court as the incident happened when he was 17, but he turned 18 in December and the matter was transferred to the adult courts.
The Jamaica-born star, who lives in Woolton, Liverpool, was not present for his youth court hearing earlier this month.
Sterling made his senior international debut for England last November against Sweden and has earned plaudits for his performances for Liverpool this season.