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John Stones says Manchester City situation is 'difficult' after losing starting place

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14:  John Stones of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Etihad
Image: John Stones says being out of the Manchester City team is 'difficult'

John Stones says his current situation at Manchester City is "difficult", with the England defender starting just two of the club's last nine matches.

Pep Guardiola has preferred the combination of Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi at centre-half in recent weeks, leaving Stones on the sidelines.

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The 23-year-old was a regular for City in the first few months of the season, but has featured far less frequently since suffering a hamstring injury in November.

Speaking about losing his place in the side at the Etihad, Stones said: "It's difficult. Every player wants to play week-in, week-out.

 at Amsterdam Arena on March 23, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Image: Stones started for England in their 1-0 win over the Netherlands on Friday - his fifth successive start for his country

"But I've had games here and there, I've been fighting and that's all you can do. Train hard, keep working hard and when your chance comes you've got to take it and that's what I've done.

"I've had the players' backing and the manager's backing. It's one of those things where the team's winning games and playing well, and you can't get back in just like that.

"Still learning while I'm on the side-lines, that's a massive thing. It's tough, but I've got my first medal (City's Carabao Cup victory) so I can't complain."

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Despite his lack of game-time at City, Stones was picked by Gareth Southgate as part of his three-man defence for England's win in the Netherlands on Friday.

Stones has not spoken to Southgate about his situation at club level, saying: "No, I think it's difficult for everyone really. He's picked me this time and I've just got to take my chance when I get out on the pitch."

England manager Gareth Southgate during a press conference at Steigenberger Airport Hotel, Amsterdam
Image: Gareth Southgate has favoured a three-man defence in recent England matches

The defender is enjoying life at national level, though, explaining: "I felt sharp and back to myself and I want to build on that for Tuesday.

"We've played 4-4-2 quite a bit with the caps that I've got so to come into an England squad and we are able to adapt to three-at-the-back with different players as well is very encouraging.

"Going forward we need to build on it and look at all options. For the past five games we've had five clean sheets so it's very positive.

"I think it's the right way. I'm probably biased in that respect but everyone's on-board with it."

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