John Stones: Manchester City defender says England recall would 'mean everything'

John Stones
John Stones has played 16 times in all competitions for Manchester City this season

Manchester City's John Stones says an England recall "would mean everything" after capping his recent good form with two goals in Sunday's 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.

It is the first time the defender has scored for the club in the Premier League.

Stones has not played for England since November 2019 after falling out of favour at City, but has fought his way back into Pep Guardiola's side this season.

"It's hard when you're not playing for your club and especially your country," said the 26-year-old.

"Watching them on TV is something no player wants to do. All I can do is get a run of games and impress Gareth [Southgate]. If it happens it happens.

"It would mean everything."

Stones was regarded as one of the country's hottest prospects when he arrived at City from Everton for £47.5m in August 2016, making him the world's second most expensive defender at the time.

But he has struggled to hold down a regular starting place under Guardiola and made just 16 league appearances last season.

Recently, however, the centre-back has forged a formidable partnership with Ruben Dias that has seen City concede just one goal in the 10 games they have started together.

"Ruben Dias has been great, he deserves a lot of credit since he's come in and he's adapted well to the Premier League," said Stones.

"It's been great for me to play alongside him, he's so easy to get on with on and off the pitch. It's just clicked. When it happens like that you enjoy your football and I'm definitely enjoying it with him."

Asked about his own revival, Stones added: "I wouldn't say it's confidence, it's looking at what I can affect and improve on. It's down to me to look at myself. I went away and worked hard every day on the training pitch, in the gym, making sure I'm ready to be called on.

"Looking at every detail, recovery or whatever it is, I dedicated everything to get back into the team and to show I'm fighting for the shirt, my team-mates and the club."

'He is a fantastic human being'

John Stones
John Stones struck his first Premier League goals since scoring for Everton against Manchester United in April 2015

A clean sheet on Sunday was Manchester City's seventh in their past nine Premier League games and came against Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who handed Stones his England debut in 2014.

"He had a great evening," Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 Live. "We've always known John is a good player and has those good qualities. I guess I should feel happy for him but it's a bit difficult tonight because I'm still smarting from the defeat.

"John is really getting chance to show what kind of player he is. I've always believed in him, I've always believed he would turn out to be this kind of player but he could've possibly missed his two goals and made me feel a bit happier still."

It is City's defensive record this season that has helped them move within two points of the top of the league with a game in hand, and Stones has been a key part in that.

"That belongs to him. If there's one guy who deserves it, it is John, he has struggled for many reasons in the past, it belongs to him how he overcame this," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

"It's just minutes for him. He deserves to play, he doesn't make mistakes and he's created a good partnership with Ruben Dias."

The City boss added: "If there is one player I am more than pleased that everything is going well, it's John Stones. He is playing because he deserves it.

"If there's one guy who deserves the best it is John. He is a fantastic human being, his parents must be so proud of him. He has had problems in the past.

"A manager can't give confidence. He has started to play and alongside Ruben they play really well."

'It's good news for England' - analysis

Former England striker Alan Shearer on Match of the Day 2: "He's brought simplicity to his game now. When he gets rid of those stupid mistakes he looks a really good player."

Former England midfielder Danny Murphy on Match of the Day 2: "It's good news for England. I still think when he's playing like that he's our best centre-half. He deserves great credit and so does Pep, because there would have been a few managers who would have got him out the door."

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