‘I’m glad to be here’ - John Stones ready to end disappointing Man City season on a high

John Stones has been selected in the Manchester City team for the FA Cup final.John Stones has been selected in the Manchester City team for the FA Cup final.
John Stones has been selected in the Manchester City team for the FA Cup final. | Getty Images
The centre-back returned to the team with Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias dropping out.

John Stones is looking to end a disappointing season on a high after the centre-back was a surprise inclusion in Manchester City’s FA Cup final starting XI.

The defender hasn’t started a game since 20 April and began the last seven league games of the season on the bench. It was, therefore, a shock to see Stones named on the teamsheet along with Nathan Ake, a decision that means Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias drop to the bench.

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But Stones said he and his City team-mates are always ready when called upon. “It’s been a difficult one [season] with injuries and towards the end with injuries,” the England international told BBC Sport.

“But as I said when we won the league at the weekend, everyone plays such a big part and is ready when the manager calls upon us. We couldn’t do it without the squad that we’ve got and I’m glad to be here today on such a big day.”

City could make history at Wembley by becoming the first side in English football history to win back-to-back doubles, a week on from securing a record-breaking fourth consecutive top-flight title.

“We have to celebrate when we achieve such big things and create records but getting the balance right with preparing for this game against our rivals,” he said on the preparations this week. “We’ve been here in the past and know what’s expected of us. We have done that this week and hopefully we can put that into today.”

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Asked about facing United, Stones added: “Every time we play against them, it doesn’t matter we’re both in, how we’re playing, good or bad, it’s a derby game at Wembley. We know their threats and weaknesses, and I’m sure likewise. It’s a big challenge that I’m sure we’ll handle really well.”

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