Pep Guardiola insists John Stones missing out on England’s Euro 2020 squad would not be his fault as defender struggles for game time
- John Stones’ spot in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad is under threat
- The defender was first choice at the World Cup but has struggled recently
- He has made just 10 Premier League starts this season for Manchester City
- However, Pep Guardiola has said he can’t factor that into his line-up decisions
Pep Guardiola has maintained he can’t be held responsible if £49million defender John Stones misses out on Euro 2020 due to a lack of game time at Manchester City.
Stones, one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s teamsheet when England reached the World Cup semi-finals two years ago, is struggling for form and confidence at The Etihad and has made only 10 Premier League starts this season despite a long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte.
After being taken apart by Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha on January 18, he’s had only two brief appearances as a cup substitute, having fallen behind Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho and teenager Eric Garcia in the pecking order.
John Stones’ spot in the England squad for the 2020 European Championships is under threat
The centre-back was torn apart by Wilfred Zaha in his last top-flight appearance
Guardiola is sympathetic towards Stones’ battle with Harry Maguire Joe Gomez, Tyrone Mings and others for a place in Southgate’s 23 next summer but insists he has to put City’s interest first.
‘I hope John goes with the national team. I am a human being and suffer when my players suffer,’ said the City boss ahead of today’s home game with West Ham.
‘I want to make decisions that he likes but I have to make decisions to be honest with me. He has good points and some have to improve. I know it’s not been easy for him.
‘Of course I want all my players selected for the national teams at the Euros but I have to think about every game and making decisions about tomorrow and day after day. Not for the future.
‘They have to play here as best as possible then after that go to the national team. I selected Eric and the reason is he’s played very well in the games.’
There was at least some encouragement from Guardiola towards Stones’ chances of turning his season around.
‘Everyone has the chance to play more, of course. I have to decide. There are still three months and a lot of things can change. A good example is Vinnie (Kompany),’ said the Catalan.
Stones was first-choice for England at the World Cup but his lack of games is a concern
‘Vinnie didn’t always play much during the season because of injuries but in the last months he was the best central defender in the world.’
City have won the last two Premier Leagues but are currently in the unusual position of being 22 points behind leaders Liverpool.
It has led to discussion over whether the team…