Stones can become an England great – Caballero
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
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