Former Blue Gary Lineker has tipped John Stones for a surprise World Cup call-up.
Phil Jones suffered a shoulder injury in Manchester United’s victory over Hull City on Tuesday evening, potentially ruling him out of this summer’s tournament.
And if Jones is unable to travel to Brazil, Lineker – England’s second highest goalscorer – says Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson should turn to 19-year-old Stones.
The former Barnsley man, an England Under-21s international, has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season, having previously never played a top-flight fixture prior to Everton’s victory over Chelsea last September.
Since then Stones’ stock has continued to rise, leading to the speculation that he could be an inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s squad when it is announced next Monday.
Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley could also be named in the 30-man group.
Lineker said: “The one I might take a chance on, because we are so short in central defence, is Stones. I really like him. He has got a lot about him.
“Sometimes central defenders need a little bit more experience than other positions because of the extra discipline and the nature of that role. But is he worth a gamble? Well, if Phil Jones doesn’t make it – what else have we got?
“We have got Cahill and Jagielka and then Caulker, who struggles a bit on the turn. We are short in that position.”