England boss Gareth Southgate played Stones for an hour in Andorra but substituted him with a big hint that he could start against Hungary on Tuesday
John Stones has been backed to regain his place at Manchester City.
England boss Gareth Southgate played Stones for an hour in Andorra but substituted him with a big hint that he could start against Hungary on Tuesday.
Stones has yet to play a minute for City this season after being edged out by Aymeric Laporte who is now partnering Ruben Dias.
But Southgate has no doubt that Stones will win back his place at City and play enough games this season for it not to become an issue.
Southgate said: “When he goes back, he will have that many games and everybody knows his quality so he will be in the team and I don’t think that will be an issue going forward.
“He’s just been really unfortunate. He got a niggle at the start of the season just before their first game and I know looking at how it worked, he was on the bench after coming back from us then got injured in training the day after.
“Then going into that last run of three games, a lot of the big managers when they are in games like that, playing a team that are up to speed physically will be thinking about not changing that. For those games I can understand we probably knew that would happen.”
Southgate has also warned his Three Lions stars that competition for World Cup places is going to get even tougher.
Jadon Sancho laid down a marker in Andorra with an impressive display and two assists which should help his confidence after his summer move to Manchester United.
But England boss Southgate believes the bar will be raised even higher with the likes of Marcus Rashford still to come back from injury and put the pressure on.
Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Rashford and Sancho are all vying for places in that department and one big name could miss out in Qatar.
Southgate said: “That competition is there. For all of the players, there is competition for places. Marcus will be back to fitness soon, but that again is good, it is healthy for our squad, and the reality we don’t have often have many months when everyone is available.
“The summer was one of those rare occasions where pretty much everyone was available if not all fully fit.”
Southgate hopes Sancho’s spell with England will improve his confidence as he admitted that the United winger prefers to play on the left.
He added: “There are times when it is maybe better for a player not to be here and to be able to get settled in at a club. I felt at this moment in time for Jadon that he would benefit from being with us, and also I don’t think anybody else in those positions warranted being in ahead of him at this moment in time.
“I think he can do either side. He, quite often when I’ve spoke to him he has a preference for it. But he can play both.
“Obviously playing on the left allows him to come inside. If you’ve got a left back like Chilly going on the outside then the balance of the team is good, but he’s done both for Dortmund and he can be effective both sides.”