Manchester City signed John Stones back in 2016, as one of the players identified by Pep Guardiola to build his side around, and in the 3 years since then he has amassed a fourmidable haul of trophies.
Yet, even this haul of winners medals has not made the Stones doubters any less vociferous in their condemnation. All it takes is one misplaced pass and they are out in force, spouting angry nonsense on social media and in the papers. They trot out the usual quotes from Guardiola about how he is “not a coach for the tackle” and wonder why Stones has not matured into something else.
The Press were even hounding Stones when he was at Everton. They queried what he was doing with the ball at the back, because it was unusual for an English centre half to be so intent on demonstrating “tekkers”. There were even moments when he cost Everton goals and then the press delighted in the misery they were basking in.
Of course when Pep Guardiola – the best football coach in the entire world – made it clear that Stones was to be part of his defensive master plan then the background noise really started to grow. However, what we have seen with Stones is two things. Firstly, he is brave and not afraid to take that wild choice. Witness some of his last ditch defending like when he cleared the Liverpool shot from crossing the goal line. Secondly, he appears to be a confidence player and for his best football to be happening seems to need his head to be in the right place.
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That of course, is why Guardiola and others come to his defence when he starts getting unduly criticised like after the England match. Vehemently defending John Stones in public is about maintaining his confidence. This last season has been varied for Stones – in part it is rumoured to be a result of splitting with his long term girlfriend, so he has played less than expected.
Despite his reduced playing time, and the strong public criticism following the England game I would expect Stones to be the next player rewarded with an improved contract at Manchester City. I can only imagine how some of that may play out in the media in the coming days.
Stones is currently contracted to our club until 30 June 2022.
Tieing up Stones to a longer contract would be a wise move for City at this point. He is a player of rare talent and will continue to be a key part of our side for a number of years given he has only just reached the age of 25 years. It would be a reward for his contribution and hopefully a continued statement of belief in him.
Right now, Stones is probably the last remaining high profile player in the squad who has not extended his existing deal. The others like Sane and Gundogan are well documented in their ongoing contract issues. So, expect an announcement in the next few weeks to confirm Stones has joined his colleagues and committed his future to City until at least 2025.