Manchester City have been hit by another injury blow with John Stones set to be out of action until after the international break.
Stones is struggling to recover from a hip injury picked up in pre-season and has missed both of City’s Premier League games against Burnley and Newcastle.
He also remained on the bench for their penalty shoot-out victory over Sevilla in the Super Cup, and looks set for at least another three weeks on the sidelines.
The 29-year-old will now miss City’s next two Premier League games against Sheffield United on August 27 and Fulham on September 2.
This precedes the international break, which takes place between September 4 and 12, when England face Ukraine in a European qualifier and Scotland in a friendly.
Stones made a total of 34 appearances for City across all competitions last season, as the club won an historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.
The absence of Stones heightens Pep Guardiola’s selection issues, with Kevin De Bruyne also ruled out for a few months after aggravating a hamstring injury.
Speaking at the time, Guardiola said: “First of all, you have to say it’s a blow for us, a big loss. Kevin has specific qualities you can lose for one game, two games but for a long time it’s really tough.
“But at the same time, you have to look forward and of course we have alternatives, with different skills because Kevin is irreplaceable but we have different talented players given an opportunity and I’m pretty sure they will take it.”
The injury problems have not affected City too much so far after beginning their season with 3-0 and 1-0 victories in the aforementioned games against Burnley and Newcastle.
That Super Cup win over Sevilla was sandwiched in between those two matches, and City sit second behind Brighton on goal difference in the Premier League table.