John Stones return from injury highlighted his importance to Manchester City in win over Brighton

John Stones return from injury during City’s win over Brighton highlighted his importance to the Manchester City set-up. Stones hadn’t started for City since the FA Community Shield in August due to a muscle injury. His return before the international break was a boost to Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The England international made his first Premier League start of the season against Roberto De Zerbi’s side. Named at centre-back Stones played all over the pitch when City had possession, especially in the first half. It was clear to see from the start that his presence had been sorely missed so far this season.

The tactical shift from Pep Guardiola last season of Stones drifting into midfield when Manchester City had possession was crucial in City’s treble success last season. Having Stones and Rodri back against Brighton gave the treble winners more control in midfield. It also allowed them to dictate possession in the first half against Brighton. It was a sign that Pep Guardiola’s side are starting to find their best form again.

John Stones was happy to finally be back on the pitch. Speaking with post game he said: “I tried my best,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and I’m really happy to be back. It’s been a difficult time for me – being injured and a few different problems. It takes its toll. I stuck with it, came back and I feel great and strong. I’m really happy to be back.”

The influence of John Stones to Manchester City had been missed while he was out injured. His return from injury is a boost that Pep Guardiola’s side required after a recent dip in form.

Manchester City are an infinitely better team with John Stones in the starting lineup. Saturday’s performance was more evidence of this.

Tags Brighton English Premier League FA Community Shield John Stones Manchester City Pep Guardiola Roberto De Zerbi Rodri Treble treble winning season