New Home kit 2018/2019
Online and InstoreBuy Now
Let’s kick-off with more on Man of the Moment John Stones, who is still hitting the headlines following his impressive two-goal display against Panama on Sunday.
The defender previews Thursday’s Group G finale with Belgium, asserting the value of momentum, as he draws experience from City’s remarkable 2017/18 campaign.
Quoted in the Daily Mail, he declares: “We want to win. I think we've got to keep a winning run going and that's what I've brought from City to here: you've got to keep that momentum going.
“It's always an added bonus to take it into the next game. I'm trying to keep improving and keep winning games.
“We want to be winners at the end of the day – that's why we're in the competition.”
Stones also credited his rapid development to Pep Guardiola’s management.
He explained: “He's just simplified everything – the way he speaks to you, the way he gives you advice and tells you how to play.
“From two years ago to now, I'm a different person; a different player. It's down to him and my team-mates.
“As a kid, I never thought I'd even get a chance to play for England let alone score. It's not really sunk in to be honest!”
Such is Stones’ popularity, Football Fancast’s Sam Preston has penned a piece, hailing the defender’s influence for the Three Lions.
He scribes: “In the 6-1 drubbing of Panama, Stones put in an almost complete performance. He opened the scoring with a thumping header before adding a second before half time.
“That led to the unthinkable scenario that wrestling England’s second penalty away from Harry Kane would have presented him with the chance to become the first defender to score a World Cup hat-trick for England.
“At the other end, he made the most of Panama’s lack of willingness to press by getting on the ball more than any other Three Lions player and displaying unerring accuracy in possession.
“He was the epitome of Southgate’s ideal defender in this system, although tougher tests lie ahead.”
Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne asserts his Belgium side are feeling ‘calmer than ever’ ahead of Thursday’s encounter.
He told Sky Sports: "We are more calm. Brazil (2014 World Cup) was totally new. The European Championship was also something different.
"The guys have experience already and know you don't have to be great in the beginning. It's all about growing as a team and you need a little bit of luck. The circumstances need to be right.
"It's just look at the next game, be calm and see what's going to happen."
The playmaker added his side are not concerned about England with both teams already qualified.
"Obviously they have a good team," he continued. "But to be honest I'm not really concentrated on them.
"We're already qualified so that changes the whole complexion I think."
According to the Mirror, there is a suggestion Belgium boss Roberto Martinez may rest the midfielder – amongst others – for the encounter, although De Bruyne is apparently eager to feature.
In other news, Raheem Sterling has been tipped for greatness by former City teammate Yaya Toure.
Speaking to the BBC's World Cup Daily podcast, the Ivorian stated: “He can be one of the greatest.
"He has pace, is clever and he can see. He's a technical player, like a Spanish player. Playing close to Sergio Aguero and David Silva he has learned a lot.
"He has to be more clinical. Sometimes I laugh at him missing too many goals. He just has to relax. I know he works hard.
"In the Premier League when you see how many times he changes the game, it's impressive – and he's just scored over 20 goals. For me, he should score maybe 30.
"I remember in one game he missed two or three. At half-time in the dressing room he had his head down and I said: 'Don't worry, you will score.'
"When you have Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane, the balls are going to come – 100%. When he came in after the second half he had scored two goals and it was brilliant. He came over and said: 'Uncle, thank you.' He calls me Uncle Yaya, he says that all the time."
Toure also spoke highly of right-back Kyle Walker, adding: "He is one of the best right-backs, with his pace and his power. He is just incredible. I remember when he was at Tottenham, I hated to go on his side because he was so quick and powerful.
"He's best in this position, his defending and attacking are good, he's full of energy – always up and down and he must be one of the quickest right-backs in the world.”
Elsewhere, the Manchester Evening News claim City have lodged a bid for Toni Kroos and are also monitoring the situation of Portugal under-21 starlet Rafael Leao.
Richard Fay reports: “Notorious Spanish transfer outlet Don Balon suggest the Real Madrid midfielder has emerged as a transfer target for City as they look to bolster their midfield options this summer.
“The article suggests Kroos has 'an offer on the table' from City with Pep Guardiola increasingly keen on a possible move for the World Cup winner.
“According to the report City are growing frustrated at the lack of a deal for Napoli midfielder Jorginho, and could move for the German if talks fail to progress.
“Jorginho remains Guardiola's priority in the summer window and a move for Kroos is thought to be unlikely with Real Madrid under no intention to sell the midfielder.
“However, it is believed Real Madrid's transfer stance could change if they can secure a high-profile move for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic first.”
On Leao, Stuart Brennan writes: “The Blues have not offered the 19-year-old striker personal terms, as reported elsewhere.
“There is a chance that the Sporting Lisbon player, who broke into their first team last season, could be available for nothing.
“He is one of a number of Sporting players who have decided to rescind their contracts after players and staff were assaulted by a mob of 50 fans at their training ground last month.
“City have made no move for Leao or any Sporting player, but they could become interested if the pacy six ft two ins player becomes a free agent.”
As always, any definitive transfer news will be reported here at mancity.com first.
The latest instalment of our World Cup A-Z features The General...
Raheem Sterling: World Cup player focus....