ENGLAND – The head coach of England, Gareth Southgate has challenged Manchester City defender, John Stones to prove he is back to his best as he faces Liverpool’s attacking line on Sunday.
Southgate challenged Stones to tame the Liverpool attack that is threatening to strip the Premier League title away from Manchester City.
The England boss will be at Anfield today to see if Stones can recapture the form that made him such a star for both club and country.
Injuries and a loss of form have hit the £50million defender hard over the course of the last year and there are fears at the Etihad that his confidence has been dented further by issues in the 25-year-old’s private life.
Southgate is preparing for England’s final two Euro qualifiers against Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night and Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday.
Southgate said, “We know the quality John has,” according to the Mirror.
“He played such an important part in our run to the World Cup semi-final and a couple of matches on the way to the Nations League.
“But then he had a really difficult period at the end of last season and the beginning of this season in terms of injuries.
“I think this is a very important spell for him with his club.
“Clearly, there’s always competition for places at a club like Manchester City and if you can establish yourself there, then you’re in a good place to be and in good form when you come with us.
“As I say, in the games that he’s played in so far he’s looked absolutely fine.
“But he plays for a team that are not always tested without the ball – and I think that this Sunday they certainly will be.”