Gareth Southgate defends John Stones decision as Manchester City star injured with England

England’s March international break came to an end on Tuesday evening as they drew 2-2 with Belgium.

It was another disappointing outing for the majority of the England squad, though focus has no doubt already shifted to Euro 2024, which the Three Lions are 10/3 favourites to win with bet365.

bet365 logo logo

England to win Euro 2024

Euro 2024 winner

John Stones injury blow

During England’s stalemate with Belgium, Manchester City were dealt a major blow on the injury front.

The Man City star was forced off inside ten minutes, signalling to the bench after awkwardly stretching in the early stages.

It is the second injury blow City have suffered in recent days, with Kyle Walker picking up an issue in England’s defeat to Brazil.

Stone is now a doubt for Manchester City’s potential Premier League title-deciding clash later this week, leading to criticism of Gareth Southgate for starting the centre-back in both England friendlies this month.

Southgate has since hit back at this criticism: “No [it wasn’t a risk to play him]. The first game [against Brazil] for him wasn’t a game that was a high level in terms of intensity.

“We’ve done exactly what Holland did with Virgil van Dijk tonight, what Norway did with Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard, starting both games. Holland also started Nathan Ake again. It only ever seems to fall on us when there’s a question about that.

“But of course, we’re disappointed if he’s got a problem. It’s in the adductor area. He came in on the back of not having played for two weeks so it wasn’t an overload issue. But I hate sending players back to their clubs if they’re not fully fit.”

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.