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Other SportsGvardiol can't replicate Stones' role at Manchester City - Guardiola

Gvardiol can’t replicate Stones’ role at Manchester City – Guardiola

Josko Gvardiol is not a like-for-like replacement for the injured John Stones, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Stones has been ruled out until at least after the international break due to an unspecified muscle injury sustained in the midweek Champions League win over Young Boys.

Guardiola said Stones’ injury was not as bad as initially feared but dismissed the idea that Gvardiol could easily replicate the England international’s ability to move from central defender into a midfield role.

He said: “Maybe, but we haven’t seen it in training, or in the drills we do. To see how he moves more central, I haven’t seen it. Maybe in the future as he’s 21 years old.

“When John arrived [from Everton], he couldn’t do it but the fact that he can do it now is because we have had eight years together. Josko has only had two or three months with us.”

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Stones has struggled with numerous injury problems this season and will take his place on the sidelines along with Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgium midfielder has not played since August and recently admitted he doesn’t have a specific return date in mind.

Guardiola said: “I spoke with him and he said he feels really good. He’s not training with us and I don’t know [when he will return].

“With this kind of injury it’s better we don’t put pressure on. Kevin’s was a bad injury with surgeries so it’s step by step.”

Guardiola takes his table-topping side to Chelsea on Sunday with the hosts buoyed by their 4-1 defeat of London rivals Tottenham on Monday night.

“They are aggressive and have good patterns,” Guardiola said of Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

“They are not close to winning the Premier League [at the moment] but it’s [still] one of the strongest teams and one of the toughest games we have during the season.

“They showed in the last game they are alive, have spirit and are aggressive. [We will] try to maintain the level of our game but sooner or later Chelsea will be there fighting for titles [again], no doubt about that.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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