Port Vale striker hoping John Stones twitter criticism doesn’t come back to haunt him

Date published: Friday 3rd January 2020 10:35 - Nestor Watach

Port Vale’s veteran forward Tom Pope will be hoping an old Twitter post does not come back to haunt him when the League Two side travel to Manchester City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

Reflecting on the performance of City’s England defender John Stones during the Nations Cup defeat to Holland last summer, Pope said he would “love to play” against the centre-back every week, adding he would “get 40 a season”.

After the FA Cup draw at the start of December conjured up a potential showdown with Stones, Pope posted a tongue-in-cheek reply when reminded of his earlier comment on social media.

“In them 6 months he’s improved dramatically and I think he’s the best centre half in the world,” he said.

 

Pope, though, is still eager to go head-to-head with the England international this weekend.

“John Stones is a world-class centre-half and his technical ability is second to none but what I do before a game is I look at the two centre-halves and go ‘Right, who is the weaker of the two?’

“And I try to play on the weaker one. It is old-fashioned percentage play. If I play on him, I’ll win 80 per cent of my headers,” the 34-year-old said in an interview with the Guardian on Friday.

“He is physically not the strongest centre-half. He is a ball-playing centre-half.

“That is not a criticism of him but, as a target man, if you are Andy Carroll or Peter Crouch, they would all do the same thing and try and bully him and rough him up. I’d stand by that.”

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