England coach Gareth Southgate speaks to England's John Stones during...

England coach Gareth Southgate speaks to England's John Stones during a friendly soccer match between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, March 23, 2024. Credit: AP/Alastair Grant

LONDON — John Stones was substituted early after sustaining a suspected adductor injury in England's friendly match with Belgium on Tuesday.

The Manchester City defender was replaced by Joe Gomez after 10 minutes at Wembley Stadium.

Stones signaled that he was in discomfort after kicking the ball in the opening minutes, which prompted England to quickly prepare Gomez to come on.

“Of course we're disappointed if he's got a problem. It looks like it's in the adductor area,” England manager Gareth Southgate said. “He came in on the back of not playing for two weeks, so it's not about overload. But I hate sending players back to their clubs injured.”

The game ended in a 2-2 draw after Jude Bellingham’s equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Youri Tielemans had scored either side of an Ivan Toney penalty in the first half.

Stones is the latest injury concern for Southgate and City boss Pep Guardiola after Kyle Walker hurt his hamstring in Saturday's game against Brazil.

Stones and Walker are both key players for club and country and are expected to be part of Southgate's squad for the European Championship at the end of the season.

City, meanwhile, is defending its Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup trophies in the final month of the campaign.

City plays Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals on April 9 and 17.

It also faces Premier League leader Arsenal in a top-of-the-table clash at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

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