October 21, 2021

Guardiola confident Man City defender Stones will bounce back from England error

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The club boss was impressed how his centre-back made up for his mistake in a World Cup qualifier by later setting up the winner

Pep Guardiola says he has no concerns about John Stones being able to shake off his mistake for England after returning to Manchester City.

The defender has been in outstanding form for the Premier League leaders this season, re-establishing himself in Guardiola’s side to earn a first England cap in more than 14 months.

Stones, 26, was caught in possession to gift Poland an equaliser in the World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, but made amends when his headed assist to Harry Maguire helped secure a 2-1 win that moved England top of Group I.

What’s been said?

“It’s a good question about what he thought happened, but he made the winning goal,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s trip to Leicester on Saturday.

“He was there, and if you are not there – you don’t jump with this aggression – then his mind wasn’t in the right position.

“But I’m pretty sure his body language was good after what happened.”

What’s happened before?

Stones has lost some confidence after making high-profile mistakes in the past for both club and country.

A technically gifted defender, he has faced criticism for errors when over-playing from the back on several occasions.

But he has taken a huge leap forward this season, building a strong relationship with new centre-back partner Ruben Dias and has already played more minutes for City this season than the whole of the previous campaign.

Will he feature against Leicester?

Stones started all three games of the international break for Gareth Southgate’s side but is available to face the Foxes.

After a City career interrupted by muscle injury setbacks, Guardiola is not worried about playing Stones at the King Power Stadium, particularly with several key players unable to report for training until Friday afternoon because of coronavirus regulations.

“If I feel I have to use him I will use him,” the City boss added. “I’m pretty sure he’s ready for tomorrow. I’m so glad he played three games at a high level.”

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