Pep Guardiola has offered an explanation for the Manchester City absence of John Stones.
Stones featured heavily at the start of the season, but his form has suffered since he was sidelined with a hamstring injury in November.
The centre-half has played eight games since returning at the start of January, with City failing to keep a clean sheet in each.
Stones also played the full 90 minutes of both the January defeat to Liverpool and February loss against Wigan, and has not started in the Premier or Champions League since January 20.
He is our player to watch as City face Basel in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
Guardiola says that the 23-year-old will indeed play.
“John is an extraordinary player,” said Guardiola. “What he has done has shown me that – now we have four excellent centre backs.
“Vincent Kompany was not able for a long period, and now he has played in the last games.
“In the last game John had a chance and in this game he has a chance – and they have to be ready for my decisions.
“But I don’t have, and he doesn’t have, any doubts about his abilities to play in the team.
“If they play three at the back, maybe Laporte with his left foot is better in the build up than Otamendi. That is the reason why. It is simple like that.
“When we play Nico and Vincent it is because they are both amazing in winning duels. In some games I need more the build-up.”