Gareth Southgate admits England were unsure of John Stones would ever rediscover his best form after a difficult year for Manchester City as he described his recall for the Three Lions as a huge advantage. Now, Stones is back in the England set-up for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland this month, and Southgate admits the Blues man deserves plenty of credit.
Gareth Southgate said: “It’s a huge plus for us, John has played a lot of internationals for us. For a period we weren’t sure if he would recapture that form, when you invest that much time and as many caps in players like that and he disappears, it is a huge disappointment. John deserves huge credit for turning that around and finding a level of consistency. He’s played a big part in what looks like a hugely successful season for City, although they will say they’ve won nothing yet. He fits the profile of how we want to play, comfortable on the ball, speed in bringing it out, it’s great to have him back. I think often we talk about coaches & managers & the impact on players. But in the end you have to give players a lot of credit when they bounce back from disappointment, come back from difficult injuries, when they regain form”
Southgate also expanded on the decision to leave out Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. City defender Kyle Walker, Chelsea full-back Reece James and Atletico Madrid’s Keiran Trippier are the named right-backs.
Gareth Southgate said: “There’s some areas of the pitch with increased competition for places. Trent’s very unfortunate, he’s not played at the level he found in last couple of years, but he’s getting close to that now. In the last few weeks he’s taken steps in the right direction. Reece James and Keiran Trippier have had exceptional seasons, Kyle Walker had a great season with City. Other players in the league, Matty Cash, Luke Ayling. We’ve got two very good right-backs in the U21s. What I said to Trent earlier on, I’ve made the same call to Kyle and Keiran earlier on, their response was great, taken up the challenge. Trent, I’m certain will play a big part for England in the future.”
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