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'Hopefully he will not go’ - Guardiola wants Stones to be exempt from international duty

12:20 AM WAT 16/03/2019
Pep Guardiola John Stones Manchester City 2018-19
The Manchester City defender was one of England’s stars at last year’s World Cup, but has struggled with several different injuries this campaign

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he does not want ‘injured’ John Stones to play for England over the international break.

The defender was originally included in Gareth Southgate’s 25-man squad on Wednesday, but Guardiola has claimed that Stones is not fit to travel and struggled through City’s 7-0 Champions League win against Schalke earlier this week.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was asked about Stones in his press conference ahead of City’s FA Cup quarter-final tie with Swansea City on Saturday and insisted he wants the 24-year-old to remain at the Etihad over the next two weeks.

“He’s not ready, hopefully he will not go,” said Guardiola. “He is not ready to play, he is injured.”

"Stones made an effort, in the last two days before the Schalke game, he was not good. We made a test today and he doesn’t feel good, and so that’s why he hasn’t trained with us for the past two days, he didn’t train. It’s not a big blow and after two weeks he’ll be ready to train. Fit or not, we will see.”

While Guardiola hopes his centre-back does not meet up with the Three Lions squad, he said he has no plans to contact Southgate over the issue.

“Maybe I will call, and maybe I will speak but I think the doctors are in touch. Normally, in this kind of situation, I don’t speak with the managers, the doctors when there are problems, they are in touch.”

While the City boss may be concerned about his players’ fitness over the international break, one man who will not trouble him is defender Aymeric Laporte.

The former Athletic Bilbao defender has once again been overlooked by French manager Didier Deschamps, but Guardiola refused to be drawn on the matter.

"I cannot comment, because I have to respect the decision of the French national manager, he takes his own decisions, so I cannot be involved with that," said Guardiola.

"All I can say is what Laporte has done is incredible, incredible in both terms, defensively and offensively, set-pieces and so on. We are delighted with his performances this season with us.

"I’m pretty sure Aymeric would like to go with the national team but that depends on him. Now he can get a rest then after he will train again.”