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'I literally know nothing' - John Stones recalls Pep Guardiola reality check after Man City transfer

Published on: 23 September 2022

John Stones says Pep Guardiola made him feel like he knew nothing about football shortly after signing for Manchester City in 2016.

Stones was one of Guardiola's first signings, arriving for £47.5m from Everton to become the most expensive British defender at the time. He says he felt confident in his ability, especially during the high of his transfer, until a couple of weeks training with Guardiola at City.

In his six years at the Etihad, Stones has developed into one of the Premier League's best centre-backs, and has won four league titles. Although he has now opened up on a rocky start under Guardiola's 'surprising' intensity.

Speaking to Goal, Stones recalled: "I honestly thought that I knew football to a decent degree after I left Everton. Obviously, after I turned up and started training after a week or two I thought: 'I literally know nothing about football'.

"His brain and how he sees different teams or tactics is, I can’t put it into a simple statement how he does it. Just how his mind thinks about football. And how he expresses that over to us as players - to get us to do what he wants, and what he thinks and what he believes - is incredible."

Explaining what it is exactly that makes Guardiola so impressive in training, Stones pointed to the manager's approach rather than anything tactical.

He said: "[He's] intense. And demanding. And I think that’s definitely why he’s been so successful over these six years that I’ve been with him. I think it comes from within him," he added.

"It’s in his blood that he won’t stand for second best or standards slipping, and he does it every day and us as players now realise that every day is another time or another opportunity to improve."


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