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Pep Guardiola pours doubt on John Stones future at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola pours doubt on John Stones future at Manchester City
© Reuters
Pep Guardiola has always spoken highly of the England defender.

Pep Guardiola has cast doubt over John Stones' future at Manchester City.

City manager Guardiola has always spoken highly of the England defender, who moved to the Etihad Stadium in the same summer he did, in 2016.

In 2018, Guardiola even went as far as to say "as long as I'm here, John Stones will be with us" as he responded to speculation over the player's situation at the club.

Guardiola (left) continues to rate Stones (right) very highly
Guardiola, left, continues to rate Stones very highly (Simon Cooper/PA)

Guardiola still wants to continue working with the 26-year-old but, after another campaign dogged by form and fitness issues, he does not appear to be offering the same solid guarantee.

Speaking at a press conference, Guardiola said: "I've said many times, and continue saying, I'm more than delighted with John Stones as a person, as a professional, everything.

"What I want is the best for him and at the end of the season we are going to speak about what is going to happen, because sometimes my wish is not the wish of the players, or the wish for the situation of the club.

"I am honest with them and the moment I will feel – not with John but any player – if we have to change we are going to tell them."

Stones has not featured for City since March due to an ankle injury but, after three games as an unused substitute, is set to return to face Newcastle on Wednesday.

Guardiola admits it is important for Stones to stay fit now and try to build a run of games.

Stones, centre, has yet to feature since the resumption
Stones, centre, has yet to feature since the resumption (Mike Egerton/PA)

He said: "Of course, what we want is, for his future and for ours, for him to come back and play and to be able to train during two, three or four months with no injuries. John has struggled with his injuries.

"But the quality of John is there – never doubt it for one second. It's just when you don't play, are injured again, you are rotated and injured again – players are good when they play in a routine, they are confident. You need minutes, playing being fit.

"He must play for himself and focus on what he has to do. Him and anyone will not be judged for bad actions or bad moments."

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on July 2, 2020
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd401814868383068
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3917111164481662
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton39158165261-953
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle391111173960-2144
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham391010195063-1340
RWatford39910203865-2737
18Aston Villa3998224270-2835
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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