Stones: Empty stadium for Croatia match will feel ‘strange’

England centre-back John Stones says playing against Croatia in an empty stadium on Friday will be a strange experience for the players.

The Three Lions will take on Croatia in Rijeka in a Nations League clash behind closed doors, due to a punishment handed to the hosts in 2015 when a swastika pattern was seen on their field during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy.

Stones admits it will be strange to play in an empty stadium, but he believes Gareth Southgate’s men will deal with the situation by focusing on the game itself.

“We spoke about it during the week, how to handle it, what we’re coming into and that we’re coming into this game with none of our fans and especially none of their fans, which will play a bigger part on their behalf,” Stones told the press.

“It will be a strange situation. I’ve not played in an empty stadium since going back to FA Youth Cup days.

“I don’t think we will focus on it too much. We trained all week on what to do on the pitch and not to focus on what’s off the pitch.”

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