I was listening to the “world class” Alan Shearer and Phil Neville discuss this point yesterday and decided to do my own little piece.
On the face of it I can see why Stones get’s so much stick and typing this I can vividly recall careless back passes from Stones that have led to goals or almost led to goals but I will say I still rate him. The potential is there but the problem is with those that are currently being asked to mentor him in the centre of that defence; Otamendi, and Kolarov. I ask myself how Pellegrin ended up with Mangala and Otamendi in the first place and they didn’t come cheap!
Let’s be honest Otamendi will not get game time in the centre of the defence for any of the top 6 teams. His anticipation is pants and he spends so much time diving in tackles and not reading the game, also let’s not forget his penchant to play act instead of getting on with things. City have never looked a solid outfit in the centre of defence without Kompany and it was the same in the Mancini and Pellegrini eras. City have got to make a decision on Kompany’s fitness issues and his replacement, only when that is sorted will Stones begin to find his feet and comfort in the centre of City’s defence. I think it’s asking a lot to expect a young centre back to be the calming influence in that deer in headlights City defence who are very easily spooked at the moment. That back four consisting of Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy and Sagna is spent and with a keeper that is battling confidence adapting to the PL Stones was always going to have problems playing the way he plays under Pep.
Stones is not your typical English defender known for their no nonsense displays usually summed up as ; kicking the ball to row Z, dangerous tackles interpreted as crunching or full blooded, leaving your foot in to let your opponent know you are there, jumping in front of shots, head bandage wearing with a bit of blood, chest banging aka showing passion, the list goes. He doesn’t come across as one of this type so he isn’t going to be the cup of tea of many English fans and pundits. Giving the right partner in the centre of defence in the mould and calibre of Kompany Stones will come good.