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Stones reflects on City learning curve

SOLID AT THE BACK: John Stones vies for possession with Arsenal's Sea Kolasinac.

SOLID AT THE BACK: John Stones vies for possession with Arsenal's Sea Kolasinac.

John Stones has grasped the opportunity to improve each day since his arrival at Manchester City last summer.

The 23-year-old’s unflappable performances at the heart of defence have been a cornerstone of an unbeaten start to the season and he feels his willingness to learn has seen him hit a high level of performance.

There have been knocks along the way though, admits the man who boasts the highest pass completion rate in the Premier League, but he says that’s all part of the process.

“I feel like I’ve been developing since I first went to City,” Stones told journalists ahead of England’s friendly with Germany.

“I don’t think there’s been a point where I’ve not been learning or developing.

“That doesn’t mean it’s always been good and learning in a positive way.

“I’ve had to take dips and take a good look at myself and I feel every day that I go out on the training pitch is a day to get something out of it.

"The (England) boys all have that same mentality and that’s why everyone is performing for their club.

“We’ve been on a good run personally and just want to keep that going.”

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Pep Guardiola has deployed Stones in a three-man defence on several occasions during a spell of fine form which dates back to the beginning of the campaign.

It’s an approach Gareth Southgate has adopted for England and unsurprisingly, for a man of such composure, it’s something the Barnsley native feels comfortable with.

“I don't think there's any preferred system for me personally.

“You have to adapt to what is in front of you. I think it's another string to our bow that we can swap and change in the game, whoever we're playing."

Germany and Brazil are the Three Lions’ tests during the international break, which means Stones will experience what it’s like to face the attacking threat provided by those he usually calls team mates.

Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan are both part of the Germany squad, while against Brazil he could well be tasked with shackling Gabriel Jesus’ boundless energy and trickery.

Always eager to challenge himself, the 20-cap centre-half sees both games as an opportunity to prove his credentials against some of the best players in the world.

"We've played Germany twice before so we know more about them, but we have a few Brazilians in the team at City.

"It's unknown territory, which is exciting for me personally. Coming up against the best brings you to your best.

"We've got to go out there and put them on the back foot.

"With the players we've got, the hunger everyone's got in their bellies, it's should be a great occasion."

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