Stones ruled out of England opener in European Championships

John Stones

John Stones

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Hemsworth’s England defender John Stones is set to miss the first two games of the European Under 21 Championship after suffering a head injury.

The Everton and former Barnsley player, 21, sustained the injury in training and will not feature in tonight’s opening match against Portugal.

England under 21s manager Gareth Southgate explained that because of the protocols surrounding head injuries he expects to Stones to also miss the Sweden match on Sunday.

He said: “He’s got a suspected concussion.

“You know you have got to deal with these setbacks before, during or after games so we’ve tried to work on the mentality, and the collective steel, of the group to deal with things like this.

“Everybody is ready to play. Tactically the whole team know what is expected and we have got guys in the squad who have played in big qualifying matches for us and big matches for their clubs.

“All of them would relish the opportunity to play but as a group they recognise it is a sad moment for John.

“But throughout this campaign players have moved up to the seniors and others have come in and done a good job. We’re very confident that will happen again.”