John Stones Has It All To Prove At Man City


John Stones has been labelled as one of the world’s best defensive prospects and he’s just completed a massive £47.5m transfer to Manchester City.

His new boss at City Pep Guardiola stated:

“We want to help John show his quality with us and improve on what he has already achieved. I like the way he plays the game and I’m looking forward to welcoming him into the squad.”

But the young defender wasn’t given a rousing send off from his previous club’s support. Many an Everton fan were glad to get the massive fee for a player who clearly wanted to leave Goodison Park.

Had it been the previous summer then the Toffees faithful might have been a bit more upset by his departure. But after Everton repeatedly turned down big money offers from Chelsea (then managed by Jose Mourinho), they didn’t seem to have the same player within their ranks.

Last term Stones disappointed and failed to reach the same standard he had in previous seasons. Too many silly mistakes had crept into his game and he would be too easily outmuscled off the ball in certain situations.

Even though he was selected by Roy Hodgson to go to the Euros this summer, John wasn’t used. That seemed a damning verdict given England’s troubles at the back. But then again maybe he’s fortunate not to have played as he might not be scarred by the poor showing in France.

Stones isn’t the usual blood and thunder type centre-half that England usually produce. He’s quick, likes to intercept and can come out with the ball from defence and pass it forward.

That reputation sometimes hampered him last term as he would sometimes get caught out or misplace a pass rather than just booting the ball out of play. But as he matures he’ll hopefully learn when the time is right for a pass and when it’s right just to play it away from your own goal as quickly as possible.

Obviously players will make mistakes but it’s extremely important that they learn from them and make as few as possible. The more one makes the more they and the fans become nervous and expect the mistake rather than anything else.

At Everton, Stones was probably a victim of playing under a boss who didn’t appreciate the full art of defending. Roberto Martinez was ultimately sacked for failing to get the best out of his defence and shoring up in that position properly in the transfer market.

But have we not said similar things about Man City’s defence in recent seasons? We have often seen the City defence crumble when they are missing club captain Vincent Kompany, who is unfortunately becoming increasingly more injury prone as the years go by.

Stefan Savic, Matija Nastasic and Eliaquim Mangala have all been young up and coming defenders who have had chances to shine for City yet were all found to be wanting!

A huge bonus for Stones is that Pep seemed desperate to have him at the Etihad.

Stones will be encouraged to build from the back and use his pace to cut off dangerous attacks. His passing accuracy often touches the high eighties and we all know the importance Guardiola places on passing successfully within his squads. That’s why he often moves midfielders into central defence, maybe a tactic that wouldn’t work as well in the English Premier League hence his eagerness to capture Stones.

Last season John Stones played like a confused young player who wanted to leave Everton and didn’t really understand what his manager expected of him.

He now needs to show Manchester City and the rest of the footballing world that he’s worth the huge transfer fee and worth all the fuss. In Pep he will have a boss who will believe in him and play him to his strengths.

Stones just needs to reward him with calm, mature displays!


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