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Stones moved from sixth choice to first - Lescott

Sat 12 December 2020 | 16:09

Ex England defender is happy to see the young defender is back in the squad.

Former Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has claimed that

John Stones

moved from the "sixth choice" to City's starting line-up.

The Stones had long been away from

City

's squad, and his re-invitation to the England national team seemed far-fetched. There was talk of his separation, and it was said that he would probably be sold to buy new players. With the signing of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias last summer, it looked like Stones would leave the Etihad, but in the end, Nicolas Otamandi left the team. Stones have had the opportunity to play in recent weeks and have performed well, and now Lescott has praised him.

The former Blues defender told the Daily Mail:

“I was half-worried for him at the start of the season. City had bought two centre-backs, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. Fernandinho had been picked ahead of him, too. You could arguably say he was viewed as sixth choice in that position, so it was daunting.

“Confidence is huge. It is hard when your confidence goes and every player has a dip. But at 26, John is still a relatively young player and he deserves credit for coming out the other side, keeping his head down and performing. At City we're talking about one of the best squads in the world, so if he's performing then he is doing OK.

“Defending well enhances everything else. You feel taller. You're stronger, you're faster, you feel you can jump higher. Your instincts are better. When I was defending well, I was better in possession.

“We're seeing that with John and it has an impact on the opposition. When his confidence was lower, with the odd mistake, teams would put him under pressure more often — trying to force an error. I don't see that at the moment.

“Once he's playing well and his confidence is high, it's a waste of energy trying to force that error. Look at Virgil van Dijk and Vincent Kompany when they were playing, they had spells when nobody was getting past them. So nobody even tried. They are then not having to defend as much.

“John's standards and his attitude have not dropped in training because the manager wouldn't pick him otherwise. If he continues to do this I'm sure he'll be back in the England team for the Euros.

“He needs to be playing well to get into that squad. He has always had the tools, but there have been patches in his form that led to him not playing. He just needs to continue to do what he's doing now and enjoy going under the radar.”

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