England boss Gareth Southgate gives John Stones injury update after Euro 2024 fears raised | Football | Sport

England manager Gareth Southgate has allayed fears over John Stones’ fitness after the defender was substituted at half-time during the Three Lions’ 1-0 defeat by Iceland. Stones was injured in an early tussle with Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson and hobbled through the first half before being replaced by Ezri Konsa at the break.

Thorsteinsson, who went on to score Iceland’s goal, inadvertently landed on Stones’ ankle just a minute into the game at Wembley Stadium. Southgate has already been forced to omit Harry Maguire from his Euro 2024 squad due to a calf injury.

The England boss will therefore have winced when first-choice centre-back Stones was felled after 47 seconds. The Manchester City defender appeared to be in discomfort prior to his withdrawal, but Southgate insisted that his substitution was simply precautionary.

Southgate told Channel 4: “We think he’s probably okay and we didn’t want to take any chances with that.”

Stones has just eight days to win his race to be fit for England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia in Germany. The 30-year-old missed large parts of Man City’s Premier League-winning campaign last term.

Lewis Dunk also missed the visit of Iceland with an unspecified injury in a further concern for Southgate. Marc Guehi partnered Stones and subsequently Konsa at centre-back and looks set to start the summer’s tournament.

Southgate described England’s concerning display against their Euro 2016 nemesis as ‘disjointed’ and said his players lacked ‘character’.

The 53-year-old said: “It was obviously a disjointed and disappointing performance and we didn’t show enough character but I think it’s good for us before an international tournament.

“I think we’ve got to be better without the ball. I think that there were a lot of reasons for that and across the two games we probably haven’t had our full side out across any two games. We’ve been able to look at people, we’ve been able to learn about the balance of the team.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of last matches leading into a tournament. Inevitably players have one eye on what’s coming in terms of early challenges. No excuses on the result but there are a lot of things we can put right quickly.”

England have several fitness issues heading into the tournament. Luke Shaw has been selected despite not playing for Manchester United since February due to a hamstring problem. Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane both missed the final matches of their seasons with Arsenal and Bayern Munich, respectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *