Sport Soccer

Sunday 25 February 2018

John Stones makes his Manchester City debut

John Stones enjoyed a comfortable debut for Manchester City despite a scare in their 2-1 win over Sunderland.
John Stones enjoyed a comfortable debut for Manchester City despite a scare in their 2-1 win over Sunderland.

Manchester City made John Stones the most expensive English defender when they paid Everton £47.5million last week.

He was handed his debut by Pep Guardiola in their late 2-1 win over Sunderland and, here, Press Association Sport looks at how the 22-year-old coped at the Etihad on Saturday.


Only Sergio Aguero got a bigger cheer when the teams were read out before the match. The spotlight is on Stones after his record-breaking transfer and City fans expect him to anchor their defence.

With Vincent Kompany not yet fit and Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi also struggling with injury - with the pair also yet to convince Guardiola - Stones must be the one they look to and City fans were not disappointed.


Guardiola wants a ball-playing centre back and Stones fits the bill, especially if he can cut out the sloppy mistakes.

There was little cause for alarm against Sunderland in the first half as the hosts were comfortable for long spells with Stones afforded time on the ball and he rarely wasted a pass, although he kept it simple.

City were guilty of taking their foot off the gas after the break, allowing Jermain Defoe to equalise, but Stones managed to keep things moving at the back.


It was imperative the City defence maintained their discipline with their attacking colleagues spending the majority of the time trying to pick their way through Sunderland.

Willy Caballero made a smart save from Defoe just before the break but the defence were often on cruise control - only to be crudely woken up by Defoe's second-half leveller.

Stones was not afraid to be the vocal heart of the City defence as he tried to lead the patched-up back four.


He was put alongside Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov who performed makeshift centre-back duties with the pair unlikely to be filling in full-time.

The former Everton defender tried to close down Jack Rodwell before he set up Defoe - which gave the striker the space to run in to and score - so could have been guilty for trying to do too much.

But Stones generally acquitted himself well and slotted in seamlessly having only joined the club on Tuesday - although he will have tougher tests.


City almost let Sunderland off the hook and were guilty of thinking the job was done with only a 1-0 lead for comfort before Paddy McNair spared their blushes with just three minutes left.

It was a game to ease Stones in to life at City and he is likely to be given a more extensive work out when the team travel to Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday for their Champions League play-off.

He did not make any mistakes and should continue to grow under Guardiola's guidance.

Press Association

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