Stones ‘felt helpless’ watching England during international exile


ohn Stones has admitted he found it hard to watch England during his international exile as he makes his return to the Three Lions fold this week.

Stones was a key part of Gareth Southgate’s side at the 2018 World Cup and has won 39 caps, but the last of those came against Montenegro in 2019.

A resurgence in his club form at Manchester City has earned the centre-back a recall for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania, Poland and San Marino, which also act as a final tune-up for this summer’s delayed European Championships. 

With Southgate yet to settle on a defensive partnership, there seems every chance Stones could still be in line for a pivotal role at the Euros, and the 26-year-old will not be taking it for granted after almost 18 months out of the side. 

“It was very tough and I think it would be the same for everyone,” Stones said. “It was difficult watching from home. You feel a bit helpless that you can’t contribute, but I used it as a motivation to strive to be better.

“When I got the text the other day, it was a great feeling to be back involved.

“I had worked so hard and I was hearing people say, ‘you should be in’. But I didn’t take any of that in until the text arrived. I wanted to hear from the source.”

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