It’s safe to say that John Stones has improved this season after an uneven debut campaign at Manchester City following his high profile move from Everton.
Stones was branded a waste of money and worse by fans and even some in the media who were almost desperate to see one of England’s most naturally gifted players in many a year fail after swapping Everton for Man City in a £47.5million deal.
However, Pep Guardiola knew the talent he had and is nurturing him into one of European football’s predominant ball-playing centre-backs. The 23-year-old from Barnsley has been outstanding this season, not just his passing (which has never in doubt), but his defending and improving leadership ability.
Partnered with Nicolas Otamendi for most of the season so far, with Vincent Kompany on the shelf, Stones has been part of a defence that has conceded just 4 goals in 9 Premier League games and 1 goal in 3 Champions League games.
Any Pep Guardiola defender must be good with his feet and there are none better than John Stones at this time. And that’s a fact. The England defender has the best pass success rate (96.7%) of any player in Europe’s top five leagues!.
John Stones: Has a better pass success rate (96.7%) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues this season pic.twitter.com/cZoyQFvYFb
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 26, 2017
Stones is averaging an incredible 90 passes per game across the Premier League and Champions League. That’s a high, very high number of passes for any player. And even more impressively his accuracy has been world class – the best of any player in Europe as the statistic above shows.
It’s safe to say that at 23, a baby for a centre-back, Stones can still improve, but under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola he is evolving into an exceptional central defender and before too long may find himself with the captain’s armband if this keeps up.