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John Stones set to play in MIDFIELD for England against France

The Manchester City centre-back is set to be handed an alternative role for the Three Lions on Tuesday night

It didn’t take long for Pep Guardiola’s influence in English football to rub off on the national team.

Manchester City defender John Stones is set to be handed an alternative role by Gareth Southgate in their friendly match over France.

The centre-back is reportedly going to start as a holding midfielder when England take on France at the Stade de France on Tuesday night.

John Stones – Slowly making his way up to becoming England’s number 9

PA:Press Association
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John Stones – Slowly making his way up to becoming England’s number 9

Southgate is desperate to use Stones, but he has been edged out of the Three Lions team by centre-backs Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill.

The 23-year-old is undoubtedly talented and has famously been backed by City manager Guardiola, who claimed Stones had “bigger b******s” than anyone in the room after an error-strewn performance during City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool in March.

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But now the Three Lions boss has been trialling Stones in holding midfield in training, and could be employed in the role for Tuesday’s friendly.

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Southgate said: “I think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure. I think he could do either of those jobs.

“You’ve asked me if he’s an option in midfield. I think he is. He’s a player who is very comfortable receiving possession.”

Whether you agree with it or not, at least it adds a bit of intrigue into a friendly that has virtually nothing riding on it…


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