(Reuters) - England defender John Stones has the ability play as a holding midfielder, manager Gareth Southgate has said ahead of his team’s friendly against France on Tuesday.
Stones joined Premier League club Manchester City from Everton in 2016 and made 39 appearances as the team finished third in the league. City ended the season without a trophy after being knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup.
The centre back missed England’s 2-2 draw against Scotland in the World Cup qualifier on Saturday but is likely to earn his 18th national cap at the Stade de France.
“Do I believe he can play that role? Absolutely,” Southgate told reporters.
”We had a look at that in training, in fact. He’s a player who is very comfortable receiving possession, he has all the attributes to play as a holding midfield player.
“He obviously hasn’t done that yet really, so that’s a decision we have to make. I also think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure. I think he could do either of those jobs.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly