Five Premier League stars, including Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling, could feature in the sexual offences trial of Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy, jurors have been told.
Mr Mendy, 28, is due to go on trial next week accused of eight counts of rape, one of attempted rape and one of sexual assault against seven complainants.
Prospective jurors were on Wednesday asked if they had any connection to, or knew, a host of individuals who could potentially feature in the evidence of the 15-week trial.
They included current and former teammates of Mr Mendy, with jurors read the names of Mr Grealish, Mr Sterling, Kyle Walker, Riyad Mahrez and John Stones.
The players might be witnesses in the trial or could be referred to during the course of evidence.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between October 2018 and August last year.
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Mendy pleaded not guilty to one of the counts of rape, having entered not guilty pleas to the other nine charges at earlier hearings.
He is on trial alongside Louis Saha Matturie, 40, of Eccles, Salford, who denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault relating to eight young women.
Potential jurors also heard the names of the complainants and were asked if they had any connections to Manchester City, Manchester United or police forces.
Judge Steven Everett, the Honorary Recorder of Chester, told them: “Some of you will appreciate, Mr Mendy is a professional footballer. He plays for Manchester City.”
Eight men and six women were sworn in to serve on the jury, including two jurors who will be discharged after the opening of the case.
About 20 members of the media were in court for the hearing on Wednesday, with others watching by videolink.
A French interpreter was in the dock with the defendants.
Mr Mendy has played for Manchester City since 2017 when he joined from Monaco for a reported £52 million.
He was suspended by the club after being charged by police.
Both defendants are on bail.