Stones seen as midfield option

13 June 2017 04:03:50 EST

England head coach Gareth Southgate has admitted that he is considering using centre-back John Stones in a more advanced role in the future.

The Manchester City defender is set to feature is his usual position in the friendly against France on Tuesday evening, but Southgate believes that Stones could yet play as a holding midfielder for his country.

Southgate told reporters: "He has all the attributes and capabilities to play as a holding midfield player.

He has all the attributes and capabilities to play as a holding midfield player.

Gareth Southgate

"I think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure - I think he could do either of those jobs.

"You've asked me if he's an option (in midfield), I think he is. He's a player who is very comfortable receiving possession.

"He obviously hasn't done that yet, really, so that's a decision we have to make - but do I believe he can play that role? Absolutely.

"John has huge potential. He'll be a much better player for his experiences at Man City this year."

Southgate preferred Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling for the 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw against Scotland on Saturday, but Stones - who has won 17 caps to date, having made his debut against Peru in 2014 - will get an opportunity to show what he can do against Les Bleus in Paris.

Stones started alongside Cahill when England beat France 2-0 in November 2015 and the Three Lions are 7/2 to claim victory on Tuesday evening and are 11/1 to win 1-0, while Stones and co are 7/2 to keep a clean sheet.

Meanwhile goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Jack Butland will play 45 minutes each against the French, with Joe Hart sitting out after starting against the Scots.

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