Guardiola given injury boost ahead of Man City title decider against Aston Villa as Stones & Walker return

Kyle Walker Man City 2021-22Getty Images

Manchester City have been given a significant boost ahead of their final game of the season with the return of John Stones and Kyle Walker to training.

Pep Guardiola had ruled the England pair out for the rest of the campaign after they picked up injuries playing in the Champions League.

City have suffered a crisis in the final weeks with Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake also missing from the heart of the defence with their own injury setbacks.

Why is it so important for Stones & Walker to return?

City face Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa on Sunday needing a victory to be certain of clinching their fourth Premier League title in five years.

Veteran midfielder Fernandinho has had to deputise alongside Aymeric Laporte in the centre of defence, with Oleksandr Zinchenko playing at left-back.

But they were less than convincing in the draw with West Ham, when City had to fight back from two goals down to rescue a point, with the return of Stones and Walker coming at the perfect time.

Will Walker and Stones definitely play against Aston Villa?

Walker limped out of the second leg defeat to Real Madrid on May 4 but had not given up hope of playing again despite Guardiola insisting his season was over.

"I wouldn't say [my ankle's] perfect, obviously it's had two very bad injuries in two games but I'm hoping," the 31-year-old told Radio 5live before the draw at West Ham.

"I've still got hope until the end of the season, until that whistle goes in 90 minutes at the Etihad against Aston Villa, that's when I'll say my season is over and have a little bit of a rest.

"Well, a week hopefully before I join up with England but I've still got hope for tomorrow, I've still got hope for next week, as I say, until the season's done I'll [not] be done."

Stones, meanwhile, has not played since straining a hamstring injury in the first leg against Real Madrid on April 26.

The centre-back has had muscle injuries in the past but it was hoped that the latest setback would not be as severe.

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His return would be the biggest boost as City have not lost this season when he and Laporte have been the central defensive pair.

Guardiola is due to speak in a press conference on May 20, where he will likely provide an update on the England duo and whether they will be able to play or not.

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