Having established himself as one of the key central defensive pillars for both City and England, Stones then saw his progress over the past two years disrupted by a succession of frustrating injuries.
However, now fully fit and refreshed, the 26-year-old has reclaimed his place in the City first team and been a revelation so far this term, delivering a series of outstanding individual displays and helping the Club achieve a succession of clean sheets, the latest of which was our 2-0 Boxing Day win over Newcastle.
And as he reflected on his revival in fortunes, Stones said the backing, patience and support he had been afforded from our army of supporters via the medium of social media had been a key component in his progress.
“It’s a love- love relationship from both parties!” Stones declared as he spoke of the affection he gets from the City supporters.
“I can’t thank them enough for their support and their patience as well.
“Their patience from as soon as the manager (Pep Guardiola) came in. They grasped the concept that we were going to play a whole new style of play, a new way of football.
“They grasped it, got right behind us, got right behind me and whenever I see anyone out on the streets or if I’m out and about or at the stadium they are just really good people, loving people.
“They love the club, (support) the players through thick and thin and that’s something special about fans.
“To go through hard moments and (know they are) still behind you – I’d just like to say a big thanks to them.
“I honestly do really wish they were back in the stadium (as) we want to see them all soon.”
Over the past four and a half year, Stones has carved out a deserved reputation for being one of the English game’s most cultured and accomplished defenders.
Comfortable in possession and both confident and dynamic with his distribution, Stones has helped shatter the stereotypical image of one-dimensional English centre backs.
And he revealed there was a special secret weapon which has helped add an extra dimension to his game – special boots that are smaller than his feet!
“Yes, (they are) just a quarter of a size (smaller),” the 26-year-old revealed.
“I like them tight for when I’m playing. When you are stopping hard and changing direction the mould of the boot changes.
“I don’t know if it’s the right concept to go with, but I think it gives me a better feel with the ball.
“With boots it's personal preference for a lot of the lads. It’s probably wrong for my feet that I do that but its only millimeters in the sizing but the feel of it makes a massive difference.
“We’re in the boots every day and they stretch easily now as the materials are different.
“I think you’ve got to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, and it seems to work for me!”
Bank Holiday Monday’s visit to Everton will see Stones return to Goodison Park where he shone as part of an adventurous side assembled by Roberto Martinez before moving to City.
The defender says he relished his time on Merseyside and also revealed that he still kept in touch with Martinez who has since gone to enjoy great success as manager of Belgium.
“I loved it there (at Everton). I went in with David Moyes (in charge) and then Roberto (Martinez) came in six months later I think, and I owe a lot to him,” Stones added.
“I still speak to him – though a lot less than I did before when I was at the club – but to still have a relationship with a former manager is something special.
“He helped me massively in my development and moving in the right direction.
“I love the club in general, my teammates and I have got a lot of fond memories.”
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