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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Ahead of Germany match England's John Stones credits Manchester City role for helping him improve

The former Everton defender has started in 10 of City's 11 league games this campaign as Guardiola's side sit eight points clear at the top of the standings

John Stones of England in action during a training session at St Georges Park. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
John Stones of England in action during a training session at St Georges Park. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

England defender John Stones took "a good look" at his erratic performance in his first season at Manchester City before developing into the club's defensive mainstay, the 23-year-old centre-back said ahead of Friday's friendly against Germany.

Stones, who joined City before the start of last season, was initially criticised for his erratic performances but has since become a key cog in Pep Guardiola's side.

The former Everton man has started in 10 of City's 11 league games this campaign as Guardiola's side remain unbeaten and with an eight-point lead at the top of the standings.

"I feel like I've been developing since I first went to City," Stones told reporters on Thursday. "I don't think there's been a point where I've not been learning or developing.

"That doesn't mean it's always been good and learning in a positive way.

"I've had to take dips and take a good look at myself and I feel every day that I go out on the training pitch is a day to get something out of it."

England host five-time World Cup winners Brazil on Tuesday before the league returns with City travelling to Leicester City on November 18.

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Meanwhile, Emre Can believes the high number of talented players eligible for the German national team is keeping the squad sharp ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Can, who has 18 caps for Germany, was part of the team that won the Confederations Cup this year and is competing with established midfield players such as Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, who were in the 2014 World Cup-winning squad.

"The competition for places helps because you always have to be ready, always giving 100 per cent," Can is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"If you have one bad season, maybe you aren't in the squad. That's normal because we have so many good young players, a big, big pool of players."

The 23-year-old Liverpool player also has to compete with Germany's youngsters including a host of players from the Under 21 squad that won this year's U21 European Championship.

"We went to the Confederations Cup with a young team so I don't think many people expected us to win that. We played a lot of players who hadn't been in the national team," Can added.

"So to win it, playing a great tournament, [means] a lot of nations have respect. The Under 21s also won so everyone can see how big and how good the group is in Germany."

Can last played for Germany in their 5-1 win over Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier last month, scoring his first international goal.

"It's not always easy to come to the national team and be on the bench," Can added.

Germany play France on Tuesday.