John Stones pulls out of England squad as Man City dealt fresh injury worry


John Stones pulls out of England squad as Man City dealt fresh injury worry

John Stones has pulled out of the England squad and returned to Manchester City, the FA has announced.

The City centre-back was initially named in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI as the Three Lions took on Switzerland in a friendly on Saturday, however, he was withdrawn from the team moments before the match got underway at Wembley. Arsenal’s Ben White replaced him in the 2-1 victory.

After the match, Southgate appeared optimistic that the yet unspecified problem wouldn’t keep Stones out of action for long and was hopeful he would be available for final match of the international break against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday. He said: “He felt something in the warm-up. We don’t think it’s too serious. It’s possible he could be okay for Tuesday, but we didn’t have time to assess it properly before the game, so we didn’t want to take any chance.”

However, that hasn’t proven to be the case as it was announced on Monday evening that Stones had left the camp to return to his club as a precaution. A statement read: “John Stones has left the England camp and returned to Manchester City.

“Having withdrawn from the starting line-up ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Switzerland at Wembley, the defender has continued to be assessed.

“After today’s session at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, it was decided that Stones would play no part against Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday and has returned to his club as a precaution.”

Losing Stones could be quite a worry for Pep Guardiola, who was without another defender in Ruben Dias for the last four matches before the break due to a hamstring injury. It is hoped that the Portuguese will be able available when City return to action against Burnley on Saturday but another injury ahead of such a crucial run of fixtures – which includes a Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid and two matches against Liverpool – would be far from ideal.