Pep Guardiola has praised John Stones for turning his career at Manchester City around, while insisting he never lost faith in the defender.
The 26-year-old has helped the Blues win seven trophies in total, including two Premier League titles, while also establishing himself as a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squad at international level.
However, Stones slipped down the squad pecking order at the Etihadlast season amid form and fitness issues, with Guardiola ultimately dipping into the summer transfer window to bolster his defensive ranks after seeing Liverpool knock them off their perch at the top of the table.
City managed to bring in Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake from Benfica and Bournemouth respectively, which initially left Stones facing an uncertain future heading into the final 18 months of his contract.
Thecentre-back has managed to force his way back into Guardiola’s plans in recent weeks though, and has started four of the Blues’ last five matches, including a 2-0 home win over Fulham last weekend.
Stones could be in line to feature again in Saturday’s derby clash against Manchester United, with his manager left delighted by the hard work he has put in behind the scenes to give him a welcome selection headache.
“I’m incredibly happy for John Stones,” Guardiola toldSky Sports News. “In the end, the players have to show for themselves, we can’t help them for certain points.
“I never changed my mind. When we bought him from Everton we thought he had the quality to do it. But footballers are not just footballers they are human beings, human beings have problems and personal lives.
“Some footballers when they have a problem outside, they forget it when they are inside and other ones put the problems inside.
“He came here as a young lad, only 21 or 22, and immediately everything started happening with the national team for England and playing here in the Champions League, which he had never played before. And sometimes you need time and a process to settle and some players need more time than the other ones.
“We know the quality he has and I am especially happy because he is an incredible person. In the good moments, he is always there and in the bad moments, he fights and always was with the team.
Source : goal.com