John Stones injury update: Defender expected to return after international break

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has provided an update on the injured John Stones saying that the defender is expected to be out until mid-September.

The manager, speaking about injuries in his squad, said: “We will need everyone for this schedule and calendar. But John [Stones] will not be ready until after the international break.”

Pep’s update also sparked doubts over whether the Englishman will be available for selection for the Three Lions in the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers or not.

The Englishman had suffered a muscle injury in pre-season training and has not featured in any of City’s first three Premier League fixtures after he started the Community Shield final against Arsenal on August 6. He also missed the Super Cup final against Sevilla.

The centre-back’s injury was revealed to be a minor muscle problem in his hips and he was expected to only be out for a short period of time. It may be taking longer than expected, but Stones is still set to be fit just a few weeks after his injury first occurred, suggesting the extent of the injury is not very serious.

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The manager would love to have his trusted defender back fit again as Aymeric Laporte has left the club and Manuel Akanji is also unfit. But, there is no lack of quality in the Cityzen’s roster of defenders, especially after the addition of Josko Gvardiol, who joins from RB Leipzig following a €90 million move.

City are also missing captain Kevin De Bruyne from their squad, who is expected to be out for multiple months.

Pep himself is also set to miss at least two games before the international break as he is scheduled to undergo back surgery in Spain. Assistant coach Juanma Lillo is set to take charge of training and feature on the touchline in Pep’s absence.

City won their latest league fixture against Sheffield United on Sunday and are set to face Fulham at the Etihad next weekend. Pep and Lillo will have a whole host of defenders to choose from even in Stones’ absence.

The 29-year-old became one of City’s most important players over the last season playing in a ground-breaking new role in defence as he put in match-winning performances on multiple occasions in City’s historic treble charge.

He has evolved to become one of the first names on the team sheet for City after seven years at the club. The days when he was heavily criticised after his £50 million move from Everton back in 2016 seemed to have long gone.