Three ways Man City could replace John Stones after huge injury blow – Jack Flintham

The exact cause of the injury is unknown, though it is thought Stones has suffered a reoccurrence of the hip concern which kept him out for a big part of the beginning of the season. Pep Guardiola has already confirmed Stones will be out for a while so the conversation now turns to who will replace him.

While Stones is a centre-back by trade, Guardiola has enjoyed a lot of success playing the former Everton man in a defensive midfield role. His ability on the ball and defensive mind have been key in stopping transitions, but who will play alongside Rodri if Guardiola continues to use such a system? MEN Sport has taken a look at the three possible candidates.

Nathan Ake

Last season, Ake was one of the standout players for Guardiola&aposs men. His ability to adapt to the left-back role ultimately saw Joao Cancelo leave the club.

Now the Dutchman has been in a somewhat losing battle with Josko Gvardiol for a place in the squad. Guardiola has named Ake as a player who could fill in for Stones and while it is a change from his normal duties you would back the 28-year-old to adapt.

Manuel Akanji

Similarly to Ake, Guardiola has highlighted Akanji as an alternative to Stones. The former Borussia Dortmund man has also been forced out wide in his City career so a switch into a defensive midfield partnership is unlikely to concern him too much.

Controlling transitions will be key to either Ake or Akanji stepping into Stones&apos shoes but there is one wildcard option City could deploy more regularly.

Rico Lewis

Lewis has adapted tremendously following his breakout campaign. The 18-year-old featured alongside Stones in midweek and could easily be the man to play alongside Rodri.

While he has the experience, Lewis remains a wildcard option as he is still young whereas Ake and Akanji are more experienced heads. But, this could prove to be a huge opportunity for the teenager to secure himself a regular place in this squad.