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Is the durability of a Manchester City defender cause for concern?

Is the durability of a Manchester City defender cause for concern?
Is the durability of a Manchester City defender cause for concern?

As the 23/24 season ended there was no doubt that it was a disappointing season for Manchester City defender John Stones. Injuries saw Stones only make 28 appearances in all competitions which made it a frustrating season for the defender. Heading into the summer transfer window is the durability of Stones a cause for concern for the world champions?

There is no doubt that when he is fit and at his best Stones is in Pep Guardiola’s preferred starting lineup. He is an exceptional defender when fully fit. His partnership with Ruben Dias is arguably City’s best centre-back pairing. The ability of Stones to drift into midfield is also another string to his bow. During Manchester City’s treble-winning season of 22/23 Stones was one of City’s most important players. The challenge is there for the Manchester City defender to get back to that level.

But the 23/24 season for Stones was wrecked by injury. He could never get a consistent run of games to build on his impressive 22/23 season. With John Stones out injured Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake stepped up in the heart of City’s defence. Akanji also stepped into midfield on occasions playing a similar role to the one Stones played during City’s treble-winning campaign. Given that Stones couldn’t be relied upon due to injury issues other players passed him by. It was through no fault of the England international that this occurred. But it is part of the game.

Heading into next season can Stones put his injury woes behind him? The hope is that he can. But the early signs aren’t positive. He had to be substituted at halftime of England’s recent 1-nil friendly loss to Iceland. Stones will have a vital role to play for his country at this summer’s European Championships. Manchester City fans will be hoping he can play through the entire tournament without fresh injury concerns so he can be ready for next season.

Do Manchester City persist with Stones or look for a more reliable alternative?

As mentioned earlier John Stones when he is fully fit is part of Manchester City’s best lineup. Given what he adds to the world champions that is an obvious conclusion to draw. The problem is was the 23/24 season an anomaly or is it a sign of what’s to come for Stones? The England international is 30 years of age and has been a warrior for Manchester City. But if his injury issues do persist into next season it may force the champions to look for another central defender.

The durability of John Stones does appear to be a concern for the champions. If they are to seek a replacement this summer it may depend on how Stones performs at Euro 24. If he can get through the entire tournament unscathed it would be a good sign for Stones’ 24/25 campaign. But if he breaks down again the champions may have to assess the situation and look at what is best for Manchester City heading into next season.