John Stones had originally been named in Gareth Southgate’s England starting eleven to face Switzerland in an international friendly at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
However, after sustaining an injury during the pre-match warm-up, Stones was withdrawn, and replaced by Arsenal centre-back Ben White in a back-three for England.
While those at Manchester City will have no doubt been holding their breath for the entirety of England’s 2-1 win against the Swiss as they waited for an update on John Stones, Gareth Southgate and additional reporting have provide an initial assessment on the problem.
As per Fred Caldeira of TNT Sports, the first impression of John Stones’ injury is that the problem is ‘mild‘, and subsequently, there is ‘less worry‘ for Manchester City.
Speaking after the victory against Switzerland on Saturday night, Gareth Southgate told broadcasters that John Stones ‘felt tightness‘ during the warm-up ahead of the match, and despite the problem, could be involved on Tuesday against Ivory Coast.
Southgate also clarified, much to the relief of Pep Guardiola and Manchester City supporters, that John Stones’ problem is ‘not too serious‘.
The England manager said in full, “He felt something in the warm-up. We don’t think it’s too serious. It’s possible he could be okay for Tuesday (against Ivory Coast), but we didn’t have time to assess it properly before the game (against Switzerland), so we didn’t want to take any chance.”
Pep Guardiola will obviously be hoping for the best possible outcome, with first-choice central defender Ruben Dias already ruled out through a long-term muscular injury, leaving the Portugal international as a doubt for the crunch Premier League tie with Liverpool in early April.
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Any more serious problem for John Stones would leave City with just Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte as their only two fit central defenders for an April fixture list that includes outings in three different competitions and four clashes against just Atletico Madrid and Liverpool in the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup.
However, the early diagnosis will provide City with plenty of encouragement that they will not be further weakened in terms of injuries to the first-team squad ahead of a crunch run of games.
Manchester City will return to Premier League action next Saturday, when they travel north to face Burnley at Turf Moor, with just one point separating themselves and second-placed Liverpool in an intense top-flight title race.