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Media Watch: City aces are the best of enemies!

WORLD IN ACTION: John Stones could square up against some familiar faces when England take on Belgium in their World Cup group clash

WORLD IN ACTION: John Stones could square up against some familiar faces when England take on Belgium in their World Cup group clash

Several City stars could become the best of enemies later today as the World Cup group stages reach a conclusion and continue to dominate the media headlines.

The nation’s focus, of course, will be firmly trained on England’s Group G decider against Belgium with the two nations both sharing top spot with six points apiece.

There could also be a fascinating sub-plot in the game with potentially as many as six City players in direct competition depending on rival managers Gareth Southgate and Roberto Martinez’s selection plans.

The Three Lions' John Stones, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, together with the Red Devils' Vincent Kompany and Kevin de Bruyne, all share a dressing room at the Etihad..

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And central defender Stones’, whose two headers helped England thrash Panama 6-1, and gave him as many World Cup goals as Tom Finney, Bryan Robson and Alan Shearer, told FIFA.com that the prospect of lining up in direct competition against Kompany and De Bruyne was an intriguing one.

All the more so given that Kompany, who missed Belgium’s first two games due to a groin strain but is in line to return against England, and Stones are not only club-mates but also partners at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s backline.

“I love Vinny, he’s a top guy as well as a top player, and it will be great to see him and hopefully he’s fit and ready,” said the 28-times-capped international.

“It will be nice to have a chat, but probably [about] non-related football things!

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“It will be a strange rivalry I suppose, because we are used to playing on the same team, as with Kevin, but when we cross the line it’s that healthy respect.

“We all want to win the game, and afterwards we’ll shake hands and it’ll be how it always is.”

Stones, who is expected to start in what Gareth Southgate has suggested could be a changed XI, also admitted he was keen to test himself defensively against one of international football's finest attacking sides.

And with holders Germany already out after yesterday’s shock exit at the hands of South Korea the incentive for both England and Belgium couldn’t be greater ahead of the knockout stages.

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"It will be a very interesting game,” Stones added. “Belgium are a top international team with a lot of quality players, and it will be interesting for me with a few familiar faces.

“But two top sides going against each other is what you want, it’s what I want as a player, because being up against top players brings the best out of you – you want to be tested against them."

As regards Belgium, De Bruyne, who has proved a key influence in their opening two group victories, told Sky Sports their focus is all about performance rather than fretting about the England opposition

“Obviously they have a good team. But to be honest I’m not really concentrated on them,” KDB said.

“We’re already qualified so that changes the whole complexion I think.”

"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."

Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News report on interesting comments from Andy Cole who insists that Sergio Aguero is still the best striker in the Premier League.

Kun was dropped to the bench for Argentina’s dramatic final World Cup group game against Nigeria on Tuesday but former Manchester United, City and England striker Cole is adamant that the Blues’ record goal-scorer is a class apart.

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“I keep saying it and I’ll continue to say it," the MEN reported Cole as telling the BBC’s World Cup Breakfast.

“Fair enough, Argentina have not been the best might not have been the best for some time but me personally, my views on the Premier League, Aguero I think is the best number nine in the Premier League. He has everything that the modern number nine has."

And when asked if he would choose Aguero over England goal ace Harry Kane, Cole answered: “I would do. Fit and well, he’s been consistent every season he’s been here. He’s been consistent in Spain beforehand.

"I love him, I just think he’s fantastic - I really do.”

Finally, on the transfer front and the Mirror report that City’s summer-long interest in a move to sign Napoli midfielder Jorginho could finally be nearing completion.

According to David Anderson, Jorginho's agent claims the Napoli midfielder is close to finally completing his long-awaited £43million move to the Blues .

"Joao Santos says he has already flown to England and is waiting for either Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis or their sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli to ring and give him permission to speak to the Premier League champions," Anderson writes.

"Santos claims Italy international Jorginho is back in his native Brazil waiting for the call to fly in to Manchester to conclude the deal."

As ever, if there is any concrete transfer news you will read about it first here at www.mancity.com.



 

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