Gareth Southgate provides John Stones injury update after scare in Iceland loss

  • England beaten 1-0 by Iceland in last pre-Euro 2024 friendly
  • John Stones withdrawn at half-time with ankle injury
  • Gareth Southgate hopeful issue isn't serious
Stones only played the first half of Friday's friendly
Stones only played the first half of Friday's friendly / Robin Jones/GettyImages

England boss Gareth Southgate believes John Stones should be fit in time to start Euro 2024 as his substitution in Friday's loss to Iceland was merely precautionary.

The Three Lions' Wembley send-off ahead of the European Championships ended in calamity after falling to a 1-0 defeat. Iceland ran out comfortable winners in the end and could have added to their tally in the second half after Jon Thorsteinsson gave them an early lead, while the hosts registered only one shot on target.

While the performance and lack of cutting edge was a concern for England, there was equal worry about the status of centre-back Stones, who rolled his ankle under a heavy challenge in the first half and was the only home player substituted at half-time. He was replaced by Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa.

But Southgate is positive the issue is only a minor one with just over a week to go until England kick off their Euro 2024 campaign.

Speaking to Channel 4 post-match, Southgate said of Stones: "We think he's probably OK but we didn't want to take a chance given what's coming up."

When asked again about Stones' substitution by BBC Radio 5 Live, Southgate replied: "Mainly precautionary, he obviously took a bit of a knock to the ankle very early in the game. At half-time there was no point in taking any chance. We're too close to the start of the tournament and there was no point risking it."

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England's centre-back options have become increasingly limited due to injury. Squad stalwart Harry Maguire was cut from Southgate's final cohort of 26 players due to fitness issues, while Lewis Dunk sat out Friday's defeat with a knock.

Late in the loss, Marc Guehi took a heavy blow to the head when blocking a shot, but he was able to continue after receiving treatment.

England's first Euro 2024 group stage match comes on Sunday June 16 against Serbia.