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Stones hasn’t been treated unfairly by Guardiola at Man City, says Lescott

The former centre-back feels that it is unrealistic for the England defender to expect to play every week and that rotation is necessary at the club

Joleon Lescott does not think that John Stones has been treated unfairly by Pep Guardiola and insists that he should expect to be rotated at a top side like Manchester City.

The England centre-back has been used sparingly by the City boss across the 2019-20 campaign, making just 10 starts in the Premier League.

That has been due to various injury issues but also Guardiola’s preference to start Fernandinho at centre-back this season, with Stones struggling to make regular appearances despite Aymeric Laporte having missed a large chunk of the campaign.

Indeed, Stones hasn’t played in the league since the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on January 18 and he could well see his place in the England squad called into question ahead of the European Championship in the summer.

Lescott, though, doesn’t feel that the 25-year-old has been given rough treatment by Guardiola and believes that squad rotation is a necessary part of playing for the Premier League champions.

He told Grand National: “Only Pep knows what he sees in both players (Stones and Nicolas Otamendi) in order to pick them. He’s always rotated between him (Stones) and Otamendi.

“Pep’s main focus at centre half at the moment is Fernandinho, it seems he just picks who is most appropriate for each game. I don’t think anyone is being unfairly treated. They all are getting enough game time. Obviously players want to play every game but that’s just not realistic nowadays.”

Guardiola has been tipped to enter the transfer market in the summer for a central defender, with City having failed to bring in a like-for-like replacement for Vincent Kompany after his departure at the end of last season.

Lescott is sure that the club will have a list of targets in mind and that they’ll make sure they’re getting the right player, having been linked with the likes of Milan Skriniar, Mykola Matviyenko, Nathan Ake and Caglar Soyuncu.

“It’s hard to think who a good fit at centre-back as initially we hadn’t heard much of Laporte, and he’s been incredible,” he added. “I’m sure Man City have someone in their vision that is ready and primed to come in this summer. I know how they work with regards to the due diligence done on each player.

“They’ve got a list of players that they see are perfect. It was always going to be a massive loss when you lose Vinnie [Kompany] not just on the field, but around the place as well.

“It’s such a big loss, not just the ability he had, but the presence as well. Any top player with any team, if suddenly they’re not there, the players genuinely miss them.

“When you play in the biggest games against the best teams and he’s in your starting line-ups, the team play better because he has that belief and it’s a shame he’s left now, but it just goes on and football moves on.”

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