Stones admits to Man City frustration amid talk of interest from Arsenal & Everton

goal.com, 16 July 2020, 06:59
The England international defender has endured a testing time with form and fitness this season, but he hopes to be over the worst of those issues

John Stones has seen his future at Manchester City called into question, amid talk of interest from Arsenal and Everton, and the England international admits to having endured a "really frustrating" period at the Etihad Stadium.

Form and fitness concerns have been an issue for the 26-year-old centre-half throughout the 2019-20 campaign.

Questions were already being asked of whether he was the reliable option that City required at the heart of their back four now that Vincent Kompany is no longer around.

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Stones has struggled to silence those doubters, with Pep Guardiola often opting to use holding midfielder Fernandinho as a defensive option ahead of more natural fits for that role.

That has led to transfer speculation being sparked in Manchester, with comings and goings being mooted.

It has been suggested that Stones could be moved on, with a return to Goodison Park or fresh start in north London seemingly on the cards, but no decision has been taken on that front as yet.

That is because a man who cost City £47.5 million ($60m) in the summer of 2016 is still hoping to overcome his recent struggles and convince the Blues of his worth.

Stones has told Sky Sports of his season so far: "Really frustrating from a personal perspective. Injury re-occurrence, then little things like getting injured a few days in after lockdown.

"It's been frustrating. I've tried to stay positive, and be ready when I'm called upon, and I feel I have been. Coming back after lockdown, getting fit again, and then coming back in and playing against some tough opponents.

"So I feel fit, feel ready to fight for the FA Cup at the weekend, and then the Champions League. I feel I'm on the right track. It's good to be getting that consistency of playing and keeping my fitness."

Stones saw another 90 minutes of Premier League action in City's latest outing, but still ended a meeting with Bournemouth disappointed after seeing a clean sheet snatched away late on in a 2-1 win for Guardiola's side.

"I'm really frustrated with conceding that goal at the end," Stones added.

"It's just an accumulation of things that happened in the game. Towards the end I felt we got a bit sloppy in our possession, and it's led to them scoring. It's probably a bit raw right now, obviously we've won, and it's good to get another win on the bounce.

"But from a personal point of view I'm frustrated we've conceded. We defended so well through the game, and they made it really difficult for us."

Stones will hope to have done enough to retain his place for an FA Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal on Saturday.

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