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Stones dropped for Man City as Kevin De Bruyne returns

John Stones

Stones dropped, De Bruyne back

The latest episode of ‘Pep roulette’ has seen defender John Stones dropped to the bench for the returning Ruben Dias, as Man City prepare to face Everton:

Dias missed City’s last outing due to illness, with Pep Guardiola having explained that the Portuguese international was suffering with a fever:

“Ruben had a fever. He still has some problems with the stomach. That’s why he couldn’t train yesterday,” he said.

John Stones has missed just 2 of the Sky Blues’ last 15 games, and become a key figure for Guardiola. Having endured some tricky periods, the Spanish coach appreciates how Stones has managed to return to form.

“John overcame the situation himself and that’s why he deserves all my respect and he deserves a big compliment,” he said.

Kevin De Bruyne has also returned to the City bench ahead of the club’s Champions League commitments next week, and Premier League meeting with Arsenal at the weekend.

Gabriel Jesus earns start

A positive inclusion in the City line-up for the match against Everton is Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward has needed to be patient in his search for opportunities this season, with Pep Guardiola having handed other players – including the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres – the chance to impress in a central role.

The fitness woes of Sergio Aguero were expected to open the door for Jesus. Aguero has been injured for the best part of the season, and Guardiola has admitted that he can only be an option from the bench at the moment:

“Sergio has been injured for a year, so cannot start from the beginning but is ready to come back. He was on the bench for the last game and will be again. When he can return he will do,” he said.

Stones dropped for Man City as Kevin De Bruyne returns

Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on August 7, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jesus has of course suffered with injury and illness himself, but his boss spoke glowingly of the hitman after his recent FA Cup goal against Swansea.

He could have scored more but he played really well again,” said Guardiola.

“He was incredible at Anfield when he didn’t play. He was incredibly supportive to his mates. When he plays he always plays good. It’s important for strikers to score. He was brilliant, really brilliant.”

All eyes will now be on Jesus, as he attempts to cement his place in City’s first-choice XI.

Manchester City’s John Stones set for England recall in March

Manchester City to reward John Stones with new contract and may face competition for Lukaku

This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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5 Everton FC 26 6 46
6 Tottenham Hotspur FC 27 18 45
7 West Ham United FC 26 9 45
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