Manchester City and England defender John Stones believes he has come through the most difficult spell of his career and is maturing into a leader for club and country.
The 23-year-old was criticised for erratic performances during his first season at City after joining from Everton, but has been impressive for Pep Guardiola’s side in this campaign.
He has made 11 appearances in City’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season and was also an assured presence at the back in England’s goalless draws with world champions Germany and Brazil this month.
“I think my performances speak for themselves,” Stones told reporters. “I’ve done my talking out there. You can’t argue with two clean sheets against two top opponents.
“It’s about having a look at yourself and where you can improve and not shying away from where you’ve gone wrong. And that’s what drives you to be a better player.”
Stones said he was keen to pass on his wisdom to fellow England defender Joe Gomez, man of the match against Brazil on Tuesday, on his full debut.
“Football’s never easy. Me personally, and anyone in life, if it’s easy, you want a challenge. Everyone wants to challenge themselves in certain ways,” Stones added.
“I now try to pass it on to the young lads. Like with Joe. It’s short and simple. You don’t want to flood his brain. That’s what I found when I was growing up, playing in big games. I didn’t want to have too much information.”
Manchester City travel to Leicester City on Saturday.