New Manchester City signing John Stones caught the eye on his debut this weekend – and goalkeeper Willy Caballero reckons he played like someone who’d been at the club for years.
Caballero, who was preferred to usual No.1 Joe Hart for the season opener against the Black Cats, had only made five Premier League appearances before Saturday and Pep Guardiola’s style of play could suit him better than the England international.
Stones signed for the Citizens from Everton in a £47.5million deal and was handed his debut just four days after joining the club.
Caballero thinks it will take time for the team to settle down in the new system but was encouraged after their first performance.
“This is a very important change,” Caballero said of the new way of playing out from the back.
“Sometimes we are taking risks when we pass the ball in our backline and my first pass was really really complicated because they could have scored, but after that we played [much] better from the back and we can start playing as the boss wants, but we need minutes. We need minutes together.
“Two or three players have arrived in the last week. John played today like a f***ing player, he plays as he has has been here from the last three or four years. It’s important to play together. We need games and minutes together to have experience together and to have rhythm and to play more better if we can.”
City have been linked with several keepers since Guardiola joined, including Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo, but the Spaniard’s decision to start Caballero over Hart still came as a shock to most.
“I think he spoke with Joe a lot of times, but with me, I just trained every day in the whole of pre-season, and I realised in the last day that I am going to start.”
When asked if it was a difficult situation to deal with, Caballero said: “Yeah, it is. For sure, it’s very tough in this situation for me, for Joe, for the fans, for everything, but I just tried to think and enjoy this opportunity and the most important thing is that we won as well.
“It doesn’t matter who played and when Joe has the opportunity, I think he will enjoy it as well as me.”