John Stones can be a creative player for England against Sweden


Walker Stones Maguire

Trippier Lingard Henderson Loftus-Cheek Young


———————My team for Saturday—————–


John Stones has already scored two goals for England in Russia.

He could score again tomorrow.

In a rush of blood to the fingers, I once wrote that Stones and Sterling might have to become England’s playmakers. Sweden might be the game where that happens.

I saw John Stones on Sky Sports this morning and was thanking Pep Guardiola, his club manager.

Stones said, “I wouldn’t be here without what he’s done for me over these last two years as a player, and as a person. Especially in the last six months,  I think I’ve come on leaps and bounds. If you look at me, even from Christmas to the end of the season, I feel I’ve improved massively again. That’s down to his dedication, and how much he wants us to improve as players. And that’s a massive thing for me personally.”.

One of the reasons I like Pep Guardiola  is that he doesn’t do ambiguous.

When Pep talks, he says plenty and he’s sincere.

Back at the end of April, he said there is no chance of City selling Stones this summer. After a hamstring injury in November, Stones didn’t play many games after the signing of Aymeric Laporte. And he had an adductor injury that month.

But Guardiola rubbished reports Stones could leave the club.

Pep said, “I don’t know how people believe we’re going to sell John Stones. He is a young player, an international English player. He’s a huge part of the reason why we won the title. The first six months he was amazing but, after going to national team twice, he came back injured. After that, he handled the situation.

“Vinnie  came back at a good level, Nico has been at an amazing level all the season, and Laporte – his impact from the beginning was so, so good. All four know they have to compete between them. John is not going to move. I don’t know how long I will be here in Manchester but, as long as I’m here, John Stones will be with us.

“First of all, he is a f*****g amazing guy and he’s going to stay here with me. He is a joy to train, I want to help him.”

How’s that for an endorsement?

Pep’s phone is switched on 24/7 in case any of his players want to call him.

Do you remember England beating Sweden 3-2 in Kiev?