Sky Sports pundit asks two questions John Stones needs to answer in Aymeric Laporte absence
Jamie Redknapp believes now is a crucial time for John Stones in his Manchester City career and has called on the defender to step into the breach after Ayermic Laporte’s injury.
The Frenchman has been ruled out until February with a knee injury, leaving Pep Guardiola with only two senior centre-backs at his disposal.
The Englishman has struggled with form and fitness throughout 2019 and hasn’t been an automatic selection for Guardiola over the last 12 months.
However, with Laporte injured, his absence has offered Stones a massive opportunity to stake his claim for a regular starting berth.
After a poor time with England in the Nations League, the former Everton defender is in need of some regular game time to build his confidence.
Redknapp has called on the defender to answer his critics whilst Laporte is out and establish himself as City’s first-choice centre-back.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of City’s clash with Norwich, he said: “Defensively is obviously where they are going to have problems. I think Aymeric Laporte is a big loss, no matter which way you dress it up.
“A player of his quality, he is their number one centre-back, we saw it last year, when they’re in difficulty, he’s always the one he turns to and he plays most of the games. Now he’s out of the equation for six months.
“This is where John Stones is going to have to be at his best and stand up. He had a difficult summer with England playing in the Nationals League. At times he struggled, made poor mistakes, made poor decisions.
“I think he’s a very talented player, 25 years of age. It feels like now is the time for him. Now is the time where he shows us everything that he is capable of because there are always big question marks about certain aspects of his game.
“He has it all but does he do it often enough? Does he defend serious enough in a serious manner? I think that’s always been the question mark.”