Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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John Stones ‘felt helpless’ watching England during international exile

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John 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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