John Stones believes he and his Manchester City teammates can bring a winning mentality to the England squad as they prepare for this year’s European Championships.
Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are the other Man City players likely to join Stones in Europe’s biggest continental tournament scheduled for later this year.
This season has been key for Stones as he managed to get a call-up to the international squad for the first time since November 2019. The English central defender has rediscovered his form and has often partnered Portuguese Ruben Dias in the backline for Pep Guardiola’s City.
Dias’ arrival forced Stones to take his game up a notch to make sure that he could secure his place in the squad and he has been terrific all season for the Citizens.
His standout performances earned have him a place in Gareth Southgate’s stacked English side and he will be likely to partner Manchester United captain Harry Maguire in England’s defence.
Stones admits that the arrival of Dias and other high-profile names forced him into becoming a better player so as to make sure he would retain his place in Pep Guardiola’s side.
“I believe that as a club and a whole organisation, we [Manchester City] need to keep evolving and striving to be better,” he said.
“Those players coming in – and taking nothing away from them and how well they have done – it was added motivation to step up and prove my worth.
“I went away and did all the things that I needed to do. As a player, you can never rest when things are easy – everything is a challenge.”
On his England recall, Stones added: “I think I wanted to prove it to myself more than anyone else. Proving to myself was more satisfying to do.
“To go out there and show people, you have got an added pressure but the person I am trying to do it for – or prove to – is myself and that is the most satisfying thing.”
Guardiola could yet lead City to a quadruple this season – with a Carabao Cup final upcoming with Tottenham in April, an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, a quarterfinal tie against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and a massive 14-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
“Definitely,” Stones replied when asked if winning all four trophies and bringing that winning mentality into the England squad for the Euros would be key.
“I’d love everyone to be coming into camp after winning something but that’s not possible.
“But that winning mentality, if we can bring that into the England squad, it would be invaluable I think.
“For the experience that we’ve been through in tournaments, especially the last World Cup that we had and how successful – I know it wasn’t successful as in winning – but successful in how we played, how far we got and how we changed the nation’s view on us in tournament football.
“So, I think it would be massive for us if we can keep pushing and keep fighting until the end of the season and see what happens.
“But definitely the keyword is that winning mentality and us bringing it to the England squad, as I said, would be invaluable.”
England have 2 relatively easy fixtures in the World Cup qualifiers facing San Marino at home on 26th March followed by Albania away on 28th March.
The Three Lions will head back home to face Robert Lewandowski and Poland on 3rd April to round up the international break.