Gareth Southgate And john stones

Southgate defends selecting John Stones despite his injury against Belgium

Gareth Southgate defended his choice to start John Stones in a friendly against Belgium after the England centre-back limped out five days before Manchester City’s crucial match against Arsenal.

It has been an expensive international break for City, with Kyle Walker leaving early during England’s defeat against Brazil last Saturday.

Kyle Walker leaving early during England's defeat against Brazil last Saturday.

Stones’ absence from the 2-2 draw with Belgium on Tuesday due to a suspected adductor ailment means Pep Guardiola may be without two important defenders when his side hosts Arsenal in a crucial Premier League fixture on Sunday.

City are unlikely to be pleased, given that Stones had previously played the entire match against Brazil. However, Southgate, who made only five changes against Belgium, refused to accept the danger of overloading players before the domestic season resumes.

stones match against brazil

“We measure everything and the first game for him wasn’t a game that was a high level in terms of the intensity,” Southgate was quoted as saying. “We did exactly what Holland did to Virgil van Dijk tonight.

What Norway did with Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard restarted them.Holland restarted [Nathan] Aké.

Holland did to Virgil van Dijk

“It always seems to fall on us when there is a question about it. Of course, we’re disappointed if he has a problem. It appears to be in the adductor area, so we will have to wait and see.

John also came in after not playing for two weeks, so it is hardly an overload scenario. I despise sending players back to their clubs when they are not totally fit.”

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Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard

Everton’s Jordan Pickford, City’s Phil Foden, Arsenal’s Declan Rice, Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham, and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell joined Stones in starting both games during the camp.

Southgate sought good performances as he ramped up preparations for Euro 2024. He was overjoyed with Kobbie Mainoo after the 18-year-old midfielder made an outstanding full debut against Belgium.

Arsenal's Declan Rice

Bellingham, who snatched a draw for England with a last-minute equaliser, lauded the team’s effort. “I liked it,” the Real Madrid midfielder explained. “I knew the rubbish we would’ve got if we had lost two games on the bounce.”

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