MX23RW : Wednesday, December 12 10:18:39

John Stones: 'I have massively improved since Euro 2016'

Stones: 'I have massively improved'
© Reuters
John Stones insists that he has "massively" improved since England's last major tournament at the Euros in 2016, where they were knocked out by Iceland.

Manchester City centre-back John Stones has reflected on his time at the European Championships in 2016 and insisted that he has "massively" improved since then.

The 24-year-old did not play a single minute at the Euros under former coach Roy Hodgson, as his England side suffered a shock exit to Iceland in the round of 16.

Stones is likely to start for Gareth Southgate's team at the World Cup this summer, and the former Everton defender is grateful to City boss Pep Guardiola for his progress.

"[My progress is due to] mostly Pep," Stones told reporters.

"Definitely Pep, the players I'm playing with at club level, and obviously becoming more mature, knowing myself and knowing the game better. I think the thing for me is how [Pep] has made everything so simple. He has taken my footballing brain to another level. Everyone thinks they know football and different systems but when I turned up at City and trained with him it was like a new door opening that I never thought would be there. Everything seem to click and everything is so simple.

"Simplicity is key. He's very open. He said we can call him or text him whenever I need to – 24 hours a day – he's always said that which is brilliant of him as a person in my opinion. Even if it is not football related. That is important."

Stones also commented on his lack of game time at the Euros two years ago.

"It was disappointing," the Englishman told reporters at St George's Park on Tuesday.

"It was difficult. However long we were out there me and Ross didn't get a second on the pitch. And that is a tournament I can never get back. There's all sorts of ways to look at it. I can look at it and I can be negative about it and almost start pointing the finger and blaming people. But I would never do that. I have got to look at it and think: 'How can I bring that experience into this tournament?' Motivation-wise and knowing how teammates feel when they are not playing. They are just as important as the boys who are playing and knowing that everyone has a vital role to play.

"I think every manager has got that decision [of team selection] to make. I've got to look at it from his point of view and think he is not going to be happy, he probably thought [afterwards]: 'I could have made changes.' It is human nature. We always think: 'Could I have done this, could I have done that?' I just tried to take the positives out of it and the experience for this time around."

When asked whether he has improved since the last major international tournament, Stones replied "Oh, massively, massively."

Stones's England side will face Tunisia in their opening game of Group G in the World Cup on June 18.


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England and Manchester City defender John Stones warms up before an international friendly with Nigeria at Wembley on June 2, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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