John Stones makes Manchester City 'mentality' claim after David Silva reminder

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John Stones makes Manchester City
John Stones makes Manchester City 'mentality' claim after David Silva reminder

A farewell gift from David Silva is a constant reminder to John Stones that he hasn’t quite won it all.

When the Spanish midfielder departed Manchester City in 2020, he left a book in Stones’ locker that details how he helped his country win the World Cup as well as successive European Championships. The pair still keep in touch after becoming big pals during their time together at the Etihad - and Stones sent Silva a message of support when it was confirmed that a pre-season knee injury sustained had forced him to retire at the age of 37 just weeks after helping Real Sociedad qualify for the Champions League.

The City defender reckons it’s that going-away present that will help keep him focused this season after a history-making campaign which saw City do the Treble. Stones said: “David left me this little book when he moved on.

“It’s about Spain’s national team - and he wrote a little message in it for me because he used to joke with me that maybe one day I’ll get to win a World Cup and two Euros. He still sends me pictures of the trophies all the time. That’s David.

“We created a great friendship, a real bond, when I first came to City and he kind of took me under his wing a little bit We are two totally different people who clicked somehow. We spent a lot of time together when he was here - and in fact I only texted him the other day. We even FaceTime each other a few times a month just to keep in touch.

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“Over the summer I saw him when I was on holiday - and I’d love to see him more. I wish he'd stayed longer, but I couldn't convince him.

“I’d say David is the best player I’ve ever played with - 100%. I'm super sad to know that he got a bad injury and it’s finished like that.”

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John Stones makes Manchester City 'mentality' claim after David Silva reminderDavid Silva and John Stones got on well during their time together in Manchester (Getty Images)

Stones, 29, was one of City’s stand-out performers as they completed a clean sweep. Guardiola devised a new tactical plan which would see the England international step out from the defensive line to create a spare man in midfield.

Stones is a natural. The Yorkshireman may have been nicknamed the Barnsley Beckenbauer earlier in his career, but his performance in City’s Champions League final victory over Inter Milan was more out of Lionel Messi ’s playbook.

Stones completed all six of his attempted dribbles in Istanbul - the last player to complete more on European football’s biggest stage was the little genius from Argentina. “That’s a stat I am aware of, to be fair,” said Stones. “When I heard about it I don’t know how I felt.

“I literally gave it everything and then when you could see a stat like that, to get compared with, for me, the best player of all time I supposed I was just so proud to be compared to Messi. Of course, the outcome of the game made it that much better.”

City kick-off their campaign against Arsenal in the Community Shield. The last time Stones was at Wembley he smashed his head against the underside of the crossbar in a typical act of defiance defending his goal as Manchester United desperately sought an injury-time equaliser in the FA Cup final.

“There’s not much in there,” said Stones, tapping his forehead. “Some of the lads asked me after the game if I’d headed the crossbar and to be honest, didn’t think I had because there were no lumps or anything.

“I suppose that’s a good example of the mentality we all have to win. I think in that instance, I could see the ball floating in an area where I was under it and I was worried someone was going to come in with a running jump to head it in.

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“I sensed the danger straight away - and just did not want to concede so late in the game. I suppose I just put my body on the line a little bit. But we’re all like that.

"Whoever plays at the back, we always say ‘first and foremost it’s about a clean sheet.’ That was one of those moments when you just do what you have to do.”

Simon Mullock

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