Stones can be­come an Eng­land great – Ca­ballero

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER CITY team­mate Willy Ca­ballero (bot­tom) be­lieves John Stones has all the qual­i­ties to be­come an Eng­land “great” and should be en­cour­aged not crit­i­cised to play out from the back.

Goal­keeper Ca­ballero says Stones is to­tally dif­fer­ent to the tra­di­tional English cen­tre­back who just stops op­po­nents but does not get in­volved in build-up play.

Stones (right) came un­der fire for some risky play and de­ci­sion-mak­ing in Eng­land’s win over Scot­land on Fri­day, with for­mer na­tional man­ager Glenn Hod­dle among his crit­ics.

But Ca­ballero, who spent three years with Malaga in La Liga watch­ing at close hand ball-play­ing cen­tre backs like Ger­ard Pique and Ser­gio Ramos, says that at only 22, Stones is still young and will learn un­der Manch­ester City boss Pep Guardi­ola, even though he be­lieves he has shown ma­tu­rity since his £47.5mil­lion sum­mer move from Ever­ton.

“He’s dif­fer­ent to the nor­mal cen­tre­back in Eng­land,” said Ca­ballero.

“They are al­ways big and very good with high balls. John plays re­ally well from the right side, the left side, and his pass­ing al­ways tries to build some­thing.

“He does ev­ery­thing very well. John is so young but he plays as though he has been around for more years. He cer­tainly looks like he’s been at this club for three or four years. We are re­ally happy with him. He is grow­ing up now with Pep and I’m pretty sure Eng­land have a great cen­tre back for a long time.

“To play with John – and with Nico (Ota­mendi), Vin­cent (Kom­pany) and Kola (Alek­san­dar Ko­larov) – for me, as a ‘keeper, is won­der­ful, be­cause they have con­fi­dence and they have qual­ity.”

Gareth South­gate, a for­mer cen­tre­back him­self, has ad­mit­ted he gave Stones a rol­lick­ing at half-time on Fri­day for some of his de­ci­sions but be­lieves play­ing from the back is the way for­ward.

He said: “I re­mem­ber play­ing Ger­many in Euro 96, ev­ery­one was talk­ing about Mathias Sam­mer and say­ing ‘where’s our Sam­mer?’ It didn’t prove to be me, un­for­tu­nately?

“We had a dab­ble with Rio [Fer­di­nand] ...did we al­low Rio to be quite as good as he might have been or did we in­hibit his progress at times?

“John Stones is that type of de­fender. A No6 in­stead of a No 5, to use the old­fash­ioned terms.

“In my mind you have to en­cour­age those kinds of play­ers to play. Oth­er­wise we’ll keep watch­ing the Piques and say­ing ‘why can’t we get those play­ers in?’ If we don’t al­low our play­ers to ex­press them­selves to­mor­row then we’ll never progress to be a top team.” – The In­de­pen­dent

WEST HAM could make a move for Galatasaray winger Bruma, al­though Tot­ten­ham are also in­ter­ested in the Por­tuguese 22-year-old.

SOUTHAMP­TON mid­fielder Du­san Tadic, 27, who broke his nose play­ing for Ser­bia against Wales, will wear a pro­tec­tive mask so he can play against Liver­pool this week­end.

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