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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

John Stones says 'it's great' being on the same side as Harry Kane for England but not sure if he is the best in the Premier League

Manchester City defender plays alongside Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus at club level but says Spurs striker has 'hunger to keep improving'

England’s John Stones speaks to the media at St George's Park, England. Carl Recine / Reuters
England’s John Stones speaks to the media at St George's Park, England. Carl Recine / Reuters

John Stones believes Harry Kane has the drive and desire to keep hitting new heights, despite already establishing himself as the country's top goalscorer.

Kane heads into England's last two World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania on the back of a remarkable 13 goals in his last eight appearances, a hot streak that began with a double against Malta on September 1.

The Spurs striker is the talk of the Premier League as he hunts down a third successive golden boot and his continued success is no surprise to Stones, who first lined up with him when the pair were teenagers.

"I've played with him from England Under 19s so I know his game and how he plays, how hungry he is to keep improving," said the Manchester City defender.

"Harry's been doing it for years now and I think he's got that hunger that he'll keep doing it. He is in great form for his club and he's raring to go and bring that into international football. It's great to have him here for England."

Stones stopped short of anointing Kane as the best striker in the country, with a hint of tribal loyalty to clubmates Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to the fore, but did not hesitate when asked if he had the leadership skills to add the permanent England captaincy to his CV.

"I think obviously everyone has their own personal preference," he said when asked if Kane was the Premier League's No 1.

"I play with different strikers to the boys here but his goals speak for themselves at the minute. In the team I'm in we've got a lot of players scoring goals, not just one kind of hitman who's scoring week in, week out.

"It's a difficult one, we're both on the same team now but I'm not too sure what date we play Tottenham!

"Harry is in great form and hopefully he can bring that to the England team."

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As for captaincy, a role Kane has split with Jordan Henderson, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart in recent times, Stones added: "I think he's got everything.

"There's a lot of players, a lot of experience and a lot of candidates to be England captain. Harry is definitely one of those candidates."

For his own part Stones has had a strong start to the season at City and is now looking to nail down a regular starting berth under Gareth Southgate.

Harry Kane, centre, take part in England training at St Georges Park. Gareth Copley / Getty Images
Harry Kane, centre, take part in England training at St Georges Park. Gareth Copley / Getty Images

Having started the qualifying campaign as a first-choice player, he found himself on bench duty for last month's double header against Malta and Slovakia, with Cahill and Phil Jones preferred.

Jones' withdrawal from the squad on Monday opens the door for him again and it is a chance he is eager to grasp.

"All I can do is come here, train hard and give the manager a choice to make," he said.

"It's never easy for him, he's got so many players in so many positions that all we can do is go away, play well for our clubs, work hard on and off the pitch and try to bring that to international football.

"All you can do is give the manager a bit of a headache."

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