By Noel Whelan

1st Aug, 2022 | 8:44pm

Nathan Ake could be axed by Man City after confirmed news - pundit

Noel Whelan has backed John Stones to come into the Man City starting lineup to replace Nathan Ake against West Ham on Sunday (7 August).

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 28-year-old Englishman is more of a “leader” for the reigning Premier League champions.

Ake, 27, started in Saturday’s (30 July) Community Shield, playing all 90 minutes as Man City were defeated 3-1 by Liverpool at the King Power Stadium.

Meanwhile, Stones was consigned to the bench and wasn’t called upon by manager Pep Guardiola.

Speaking before the match (as per Football Daily, 29 July), Guardiola confirmed that first-choice star Aymeric Laporte will be sidelined until September.

The Spain international has undergone surgery on an injured knee.

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Stones made just 12 league starts last term, while Ake was included in a Premier League starting lineup on just 10 occasions.

“I think if Stones is fit, then you play him,” Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“He’s the senior player and he’s featured more often for City. He’s the one who steps in and takes the burden when there is someone out injured.

“Ake is a quality player, he didn’t do too much wrong in the Community Shield against Liverpool. But if I have the choice between him and Stones, I’m choosing Stones.

“He’s more familiar in that backline and he’s a bit more of a leader at the back. That counts for a lot.”

Ake was linked with a return to Chelsea this summer but a potential move collapsed.

Stones has won four Premier League titles since joining Man City in 2016.

In other news, pundit lambasts Erling Haaland after Community Shield footage analysed.