John Stones feels certain that he and England can rely on Harry Maguire at the World Cup since their friendship has grown to be “too strong to be broken.”
The two have played a crucial role during the Gareth Southgate era, helping the Three Lions reached the semifinals in Russia four years ago. They went one step further by finishing runners-up at the European Championships in 2021.
Maguire has had a more difficult time adjusting to life at Manchester United under Erik ten Hag.
John Stones on Harry Maguire
Maguire has only started three Premier League games this season because of his inconsistent play, but he still retains Southgate’s trust.
“I see a partner in Harry when I look at him. He has always had my back, and I have always had his. During our adventures together,” he told the PA news agency after taking part in a McDonald’s Fun Football session at the Trafford Center.
“We’ve played so many games together that we’ve developed a bond and a working relationship. We are aware of one another’s intentions and our preferred collaboration methods. It engages.”
“If Harry and I are on the team or using the system Gareth chooses, we’ll use those relationships again. They are too resilient to be damaged by (lack of) playing time, bad form, or anything else.”
“Harry’s a terrific player. You don’t get to the standard he has without being” is something that gets thrown out the window when these times occur. The difficulties he has faced and is still facing demonstrate his spirit of never giving up.”
John Stones: "When I look at Harry [Maguire], I see a partner. Through all our experiences he's had my back, I've had his. We've had so many games together, we've made a bond and partnership. We know what the other is going to do and how we work best. It clicks." [via @BBCSport]
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) November 14, 2022
John Stones on Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips
Stones is one of five City players in the 26-man squad that flies out on Tuesday, a contingent almost reduced by injuries to Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.
Walker has been out with a groin issue for almost six weeks. Phillips has just finished an expedited recovery following a shoulder procedure. Despite an originally grim prognosis, both cut, he impressed Stones with their tenacity.
“Credit to them,” he remarked, “they’ve both been working hard to make the tournament, and they still are.”
“They have disregarded some professional advice, and I’m thrilled for them personally and as athletes that they are traveling.”
“Having surgery and being out of the World Cup for such a long period has undoubtedly not been easy for them. Therefore, it is a wonderful compliment to themselves and the people in City.”
“They have been collaborating with them to return to the same surgeon and receive the go-ahead weeks in advance.”