John Stones won’t develop defensively under Pep Guardiola, says Sylvain Distin

Kweku Lawrence
By Kweku Lawrence
3 Min Read

According to former Manchester City defender Sylvain Distin, John Stones would not get any better as a defender while he is under Pep Guardiola.

John Stones has been restricted to little over 80 games since making a move from the Goodison Park to the blue side of Manchester.

Guardiola made it known to the England international that everything lies “in his hands to become of the best” and fulfill his potential.

Distin played over 450 games in the Premier League featuring for over five clubs in the top-flight between 2001-2016.

He, who was once played together with the 25-year-old at Everton has however criticised the Spaniard’s ability to develop the defensive role of the young English man.


“No disrespect to him, he is a top manager, but will Guardiola make [Stones] a better defender? I can’t see it,” Distin told The Beautiful Game Podcast. “He will make him a better player coming out from the back with the ball – but better defender? I don’t see it happening.”

“I’m not sure if [Stones] has got that defensive grit. He is an amazing player with the ball, really confident with the ball. As a modern centre-back, yes, he is amazing.

“Did he fulfil his potential? No. He still has a lot to learn and he has to be a lot more consistent. Can he fit in every team? I don’t think so either. Definitely he has all the attributes but I feel like something didn’t click for him yet.


“He could be much, much better than he is now. When I see that Manchester City would play a midfielder at centre-back when they have two or three centre-backs, as a centre-back that would hurt me greatly.

“That’s my job and you take a midfielder to play in my position? That would hurt me. I don’t know if he doesn’t have the confidence of the manager or if something else but something needs to click with him.

“That means, if you make a costly mistake, because he is being too confident, or trying to force the play from the back, he had a manager who said ‘never mind, you did the right stuff, carry on’.

“If you make a mistake and your manager says ‘it’s fine, don’t worry’ and the next game or two, three games after you make similar type of mistake and your manager says ‘no, this is what I want to do, you carry on, I don’t care’ you get into a pattern where mentally you feel ‘it’s OK, I can make a mistake. That’s what my manager wants.’

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