Pep Guardiola has hailed John Stones as he prepares to hand the England defender an immediate debut in Man City’s Premier League opener.
Stones joined City from Everton in a £47.5million deal this week after a pursuit that had lasted most of the summer.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 9, 2016
With captain Vincent Kompany injured and fitness doubts over Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala, Stones is likely to find himself straight in the side as City host Sunderland on Saturday.
Guardiola said: “Finally we could pick John up. I think it is important for us – an English player, a young player, a huge talent, not just with defending but with his intelligence to read the next step, the next pass, behind the line.
“I think he is a good, good, good player, so we are happy to have him and he is fit. He played with Ronald Koeman (at Everton) four, five or six friendly games, of 90 minutes, so he is fit.”
Guardiola has overseen eight signings since taking charge earlier in the summer and admits he does not yet know what his best team is. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also says it will take time for his methods to take hold, although he will demand the highest attitude from the start.
The Spaniard said: “I know maybe 80 or 90 per cent who will play tomorrow. Maybe I need my dream tonight to make the right decision.
“To create something we need time, to create something with ideas to attack we need time. But to play with soul and something inside we don’t need time.
“Tomorrow we don’t know if everyone is going to play good or if we will get the result but I will not accept not playing with soul. We can do that from the first day and that is exactly what I am looking for from my team and my players.”
“To create something, obviously we have to play games and it is so important to win for our confidence.”