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Dublin: 3°C Monday 25 January 2021

John Stones glad he didn't end up at Chelsea

The new Citizens recruit believes his frustration last season turned out to be a “blessing in disguise”.

Stones has started both Man City's Premier League games so far.
Stones has started both Man City's Premier League games so far.

MAN CITY DEFENDER John Stones feels it was a blessing in disguise that he did not join Chelsea a year ago and instead plays for “best manager in the world” Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea, then managed by Jose Mourinho, made a strong push to sign the England international prior to the 2015-16 season, but did not produce a bid that tempted Everton to sell.

Instead, Stones remained at Goodison Park for that campaign before joining City this month for a reported fee that could eventually rise to £50million.

Stones, 22, has always been in a hurry to reach the top level and compete to win trophies, but feels his move to Chelsea not materialising should now be seen as a positive as it means he gets to work under Guardiola.

“I suppose what happened turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” the centre-back told reporters.

I stated last year what I wanted to do. It didn’t happen and so I just got on with it, kept going, set out to win games and improve as a player.

“For me personally, I am now working with the best manager in the world. I’m over the moon to be at City and learning from a manager like Pep Guardiola.

“I came here because I want to be a winner. I’m like every other player – I just want to win some silverware.

It is difficult when there is a lot of speculation and a lot of things happening in your personal life. It didn’t unsettle just me, it affected my family as well.

“You cannot afford to waste any time as a player. When the game goes you cannot get it back, so it was a great learning curve for me last year and I feel I have come out of it stronger and a better person and player.

Hindsight is a great thing, but it has all worked out perfectly for me in the end.”

Stones has already been impressed by the methods of former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola.

He added: “I really enjoy the training and learning new things from him. He is an ultimate professional, very detailed. He wants us to be on the same page going into every game. He gets a lot of points across to us.

It is good because it keeps me thinking, gets me realising the situations we are in against different teams so I can make that decision while I am out there and make it quicker.

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“I just wanted to hit the ground running and show what I can do. I didn’t have to change anything. The gaffer knew how I played and it was just fine-tuning a few things and getting on the same page.

“Obviously I am going to make some mistakes, but it is about how I look to correct those.”

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