Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has claimed that John Stones deserves all the credit for the way he’s forced his way back into the starting XI at the Etihad Stadium.
It was only a few months ago that Stones was left on the bench and he was very much a bit-part player during much of the last campaign.
But the 26-year-old has managed to turn things around.
The English centre-back has forced his way back into the side, forming a brilliant partnership alongside Ruben Dias that is even keeping Aymeric Laporte out of the side.
He’s just three games short this season of his total appearances for the previous campaign and now fully has the trust of his manager.
Guardiola has put big praise on the defender for his turnaround.
“Absolutely down to him [Stones]. He organised his life. He is an incredible professional. He was not injured. He is exceptional because he did – he turned the situation around himself. He decided to become a top player,” Guardiola said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
Stones, who earns £100,000-a-week (Spotrac), has looked back to his best this season and it seems a no-brainer for England manager Gareth Southgate to recall him to the international squad ahead of the European Championships.
He is a ball-playing centre-back that is showing the kind of calmness at the back he’s always had, but his decision-making now looks much sharper and he’s playing with such confidence in defence.
His challenge now is to keep performing at such an elite level, as the competition at centre-half for his club and country is fierce.