Former Manchester City player Mike Summerbee has heaped praise on centre-back John Stones and is impressed with his performances after he made a switch from Everton to Etihad this summer.
Summerbee has backed Stones’ start to life at Man City under prolific manager Pep Guardiola and insisted that the English player is the future of defending.
The 22-year-old defender joined Man City from Everton this summer and has secured a permanent place in Guardiola’s starting XI and has earned a tola of 19 appearances in all competitions for the club.
Stones have taken up the added responsibility of at the core of Man City defence after skipper Vincent Kompany was ruled out due to injury. The England defender stood up to the occasion and helped his side to move just one point behind current league leaders Chelsea.
And now Summerbee is impressed by the former Everton man’s intent to take up the added responsibility in Kompany’s absence, adding that he is fond of the England international’s technical abilities.
Summerbee said: “John Stones has done remarkably well. He’s a young man, it’s a big responsibility playing in that position.”
“I like him on the ball. He picks the ball up and if there’s 20 yards in front of him he’ll go into that place, which will commit an inside forward or a midfielder to go into him. Then he’ll lay the ball off and he does that very well.”
“I like anybody with confidence who can control the ball and beat people. It’s the footballing world now, everybody has to be able to play.”
“In my day, we had full-backs who kicked wingers, you had centre-halves who won the ball in the air and the skilful people were the inside forwards and they created situations.”
“Now, everybody in the entire Premier League tries to play football.”
Earlier, this month Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insisted that he will never try to limit John Stones’ natural game style.
Guardiola is ready to give Stones all the freedom he needs to document his name amongst the top defenders in the world and the Spanish manager wants him to become the Gerard Pique of English Premier League.
Stones have shown sparks of brilliance after joining Man City from Everton for a transfer fee of £47.5million this summer but have also drawn huge criticism for some of his blunders during international duty for England and also in few occasions in the Premier League.
But Guardiola is ready to overlook his mistakes and give Stones all the freedom to carry on with his natural game style.
The new Man City manager Guardiola does not agree with former England boss Glenn Hoddle, who had raised doubts whether the former Barcelona manager can get the best out of John Stones.
Glenn Hoddle had insisted that Guardiola is “like an over-indulgent father who never reprimands his son”. And he had claimed that Stones is not being exposed to the dangers of playing out of his comfort zone.
However, the former Barca boss came out in defence of Stones and said: “With John you cannot forget, in his career, he only played one game a week.”
“Now he plays three games a week in places like the Nou Camp against Lionel Messi. He didn’t play one minute at the Euros, now he plays 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes.”
“Of course he has to improve, but not now at the beginning. He’s 22, that’s what’s so nice about my job to help him develop, to not discriminate in how he wants to play.”
“To help him be more aggressive, how he has to drive to the ball, to pass quicker. He has to make a lot of mistakes and I will do it in the nicest way possible, for sure.”
Guardiola is confident that Stones has all the potential to become like Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who had left the Barca academy to spend four seasons at Premier League side Manchester United.
Guardiola had added: “Gerard Pique, when he started, was quite similar to Stones. Gerard came to Manchester and was playing not so often. But over time he grew stronger.”
“This does not happen in a day or a month, he needs time. But he is a personality that is difficult to find at that age.”
“To play in big games, that is the most important thing. He is not afraid to play. That’s why I think City are lucky to have this player and so I am nice to him. So nice!”