John Stones feared Euro 2024 dream over after injury scare

John Stones feared Euro 2024 dream over after injury scare

John Stones feared he’d be cruelly ruled out of Euro 2024 last week but has declared himself fully fit to face Serbia on Sunday.

The England defender was substituted at half time of last Friday’s loss against Iceland after suffering a foot injury during an awkward tangle with an opposition player.

Stones required lengthy treatment at Wembley in the moments after the injury and in the tunnel at half-time raising concerns he could miss the tournament.

The Manchester City star, unquestionably the country’s first-choice centre-back, faced an anxious wait to discover the extent of the damage to his foot after undergoing two scans.

And Stones admits his heart sunk at Wembley, saying: ‘I was worried at first, just the mechanism of how it happened, how I landed on my foot.

John Stones is raring to go as England prepare to face Serbia in their Euro 2024 opener

The defender was caught up in a painful-seeming injury during England's final friendly

The defender was caught up in a painful-seeming injury during England’s final friendly

‘I knew it wasn’t my knee or my ankle, because of the mechanism in how I landed. It was almost like my big toe in the line straight down my foot and you think “I have fractured it”.

‘You think the worst at the start and we got some scans back and [it was] really minor stuff and came through it, which is great.

‘I thought if I have fractured it, get the doctors, tablets, injections, whatever it is, I don’t want to miss out – which I think with my history of injuries and knowing how to deal with them mentally and being in a positive mind-frame in that sense is really beneficial.

‘If it was bad, I was ready to go and gladly it wasn’t.’

Earlier this week, Stones faced another fitness issue after being struck down with a sickness bug that meant he had to quarantined.

The development saw him emerge as a doubt for the opener against Serbia, but thankfully for Stones and head coach Gareth Southgate the 30-year-old has returned to full training and is expected to be available in Gelsenkirchen.

‘I haven’t been that bad in… I couldn’t tell you how long. I am not getting into detail,’ he joked.

‘It was a real rough 36 hours. I didn’t feel great the day before in the open session but felt good enough and thought it would just pass and ended up ringing the doctor in early hours of the morning after being up for a few hours and couldn’t take it any more.

The Manchester City defender now believes he is fully fit to start against Serbia on Sunday

The Manchester City defender now believes he is fully fit to start against Serbia on Sunday

‘I felt quite alone to be honest, which you might not at home – no one around you and then being stuck in your room all day, no food, not much water because it was coming out again.

‘It kind of puts into perspective, of health in general, how lucky I am over the years. I don’t get ill or sickness.

‘I think it was a good time, if it was ever going to happen, during this week and I got back out on Thursday.

‘It could have been from anything. I have not really thought about it in that way, I am just glad to be over it.

‘I was in my room the whole time. I only saw the doctor. I managed to eat the next day, when I was in my room, late at night (on Wednesday).

‘It was over quickly and it could have been a lot worse than what it was and I was glad to get through training on Thursday.’

Asked about his availability for Serbia, Stones added: ‘I feel great. Really good.

‘I have been topping up after training. I am on track with everyone else and am looking to do my extras to catch up on what I have missed out on and in the gym as well. I feel great physically. I am looking forward to it now.’

Stones is expected to play alongside Marc Guehi in the heart of England’s defence on Sunday, and he added: ‘I’m a big fan of Marc’s. Just how he goes about his work. I mean this in really nice way – even me still – he’s like big sponge to learn and I think that’s how you progress and improve as a player.

‘He is taking everything in. His quality, for his size, how strong he is, how he dominates. He has been an incredible player at Palace and had a big injury this season as well but I watched him come back in his first game and it was like nothing had ever happened.

‘It’s been great lesson for me to play with him. He is a lot more mature and experienced than his age. Hopefully if we can get to play together I will be really pleased.’

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