Stones: I loved playing this role from the start

Stones: I loved playing this role from the start
Stones: I loved playing this role from the start

John Stones says he enjoyed playing his hybrid role across defence and midfield the moment he was asked to do so by Pep Guardiola.

Stones’ bravery in stepping out from the back line and playing alongside Rodrigo was a key part of the run that took us to last season’s historic Treble.

The England international now looks likely to be just as important in the final months of the 2023/24 campaign as Guardiola’s side chase trophies in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League again.

Having always been a centre-back comfortable with the ball at his feet, Stones was the perfect candidate for Guardiola’s innovation last year.

Official Man City podcast

He took the role on and excelled immediately, helping us overcome Arsenal in the Premier League and go beyond the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Inter in Europe.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Official Man City podcast to be released later today, Stones says he was keen to play the role immediately.

“From the start,” he said when asked by hosts Rob Pollard and Nedum Onuoha how quickly he came to enjoy the position.

“It goes back to learning. Playing in there you appreciate other people’s roles and see their positions from a different perspective.

“You realise when sometimes I might give a pass into a midfielder but being on the receiving end of that, you know that that’s the wrong pass or the wrong position to give it. You appreciate someone else’s role in the team.”

WATCH: John Stones | Best moments in February

The 29-year-old particularly shone during the 4-0 Champions League semi-final second leg win over Real Madrid, often pushing deep into our opponents’ final third.

In the podcast he explains what his job was that night as we ran riot against the Spanish giants.

“The way they set up, they allowed us to do that with Kroos and Modric following Kevin [De Bruyne] and Bernardo on the other side,” he stated.

“They man marked them and created so much space for me and Rodri to get to the 18-yard box.

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“Once we got there it was about trying to move them about and out of their zone to create space.

“Kevin is the best in the world at making these runs in behind to cross the ball. We were patient once we got there.

“Sometimes I find a lot my runs when we’re high up the pitch, my movements are not to get the ball but to create space for other guys. My quality is not as good as theirs up there and I know that, I want to get them on the ball and let them do their thing.”

WATCH: City 4-0 Real Madrid: Match highlights

That performance went down as one of the best by any side in the history of the Champions League.

However, Stones insists the final itself – when we defeated Inter 1-0 in Istanbul thanks to Rodrigo’s second half goal – was better from his perspective.

“I played No.8, I’d not played it before,” he said.

“I didn’t want what happened in Porto [in 2021] to happen again and going up to that game I was kind of cold, no real emotion.

“My missus asks if I’m excited and I say not until it’s here. I don’t want to overthink things and get too involved.

“Going into that, I thought I am going to give everything and whatever happens happens. Everything fell into place.”

Official Man City podcast

The official Manchester City Podcast is back!

Hosted by Rob Pollard and Nedum Onuoha, each episode will feature an in-depth interview with a range of special guests - players, legends, coaches, managers and celebrity fans - as the pair attempt to get under the skin of City’s past and present.

Watch the vodcast early on CITY+ or get the audio version the following week on all major streaming platforms.