Soccer-England's Stones says he is fit for Euro after toe injury fears


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - England Training - Blankenhain, Germany - June 13, 2024 England's John Stones during training REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

(Reuters) - Defender John Stones admitted he feared he had broken his toe in England's final warm-up game for the European Championship last week, but the Manchester City player said he is fit for their opener against Serbia on Sunday.

Stones, a regular starter in Gareth Southgate's lineup, came off the pitch at halftime in last Friday's loss to Iceland after appearing to roll his ankle before spending 36 hours isolated due to illness midweek.

The 30-year-old has said he did not suffer any serious injuries and has returned to training to be available for England's opening Group C match.

"It was almost like my big toe in the line straight down my foot and you think 'I have fractured it'," Stones told British media on Friday.

"You think the worst at the start and we got some scans back and it was really minor stuff, which is great. Then I haven't been that ill in...I couldn't tell you how long. It was a real rough 36 hours.

"It could have been a lot worse than what it was and I was glad to get through training on Thursday. Now I feel great physically. I am looking forward to it now."

Stones, capped 72 times by England, said he believes the country can improve on their 2021 Euro performance when they lost in the final to Italy.

"I'm a big believer in not hoping we can win but believing we can win," he said. "It's a simple message. I think all of us in the room hope we can win but believing is a totally different thing. That's a powerful thing."

Following Serbia, England face Denmark on Thursday and Slovenia five days later.

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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