‘If he wants to be a top centre half and play for England again, he can’t stay’: Rio Ferdinand urges John Stones to leave Manchester City to resurrect his career and get back into Gareth Southgate’s plans
- Rio Ferdinand believes John Stones must leave Manchester City this summer
- The defender has started just two games for his side since the season’s restart
- Ferdinand said Stones needs regular football if he wants to play for England
John Stones must leave Manchester City to resurrect his career and remain an England international, Rio Ferdinand has warned the 26-year-old centre back.
City face Lyon in the Champions League quarter finals in what Ferdinand believes is a ‘banana skin’ and Stones is not set to feature.
Ferdinand called a BBC radio phone-in to defend Stones during his Everton days and feels his potential is being unfulfilled now that he is warming the bench.
Rio Ferdinand believes John Stones must leave Manchester City in order to save his career
Ferdinand said the defender has a big decision to make with the Euros taking place next year
Pep Guardiola has started Stones only twice in all competitions since the season’s restart.
‘If I’m him, I am thinking “wow”,’ Ferdinand said. ‘You’ve got (Nicolas) Otamendi coming in front of him and even (Eric) Garcia, who is not committed to the club.
‘Stones has gone from being England first-choice centre-half to wondering whether he is even going to get in the squad now because he is not playing for his club.
‘He really has to look at himself and his situation closely. With the Euros coming up next year, he has to make a big decision. In fact, I don’t even think it’s a big decision to leave – it’s just the right decision. If he wants to be a top centre-half and play for England again, he can’t stay at City.’
The 26-year-old has started just two games since the restart after falling out of favour
Asked if West Ham would be a good fit, Ferdinand added: ‘(David) Moyes knows him. It would be a massive drop in expectation from a club point of view but needs must sometimes.
‘Where’s he going to go get a game? That’s what he needs to think about. He needs to play football. He’s not played consistent football consecutively for how long now?
‘I stood up for him. I rang in a radio show about him ages ago because I really did believe in him. I said at the time that he has huge potential. His problem has been that he’s continually made the same mistakes and they haven’t been eradicated out of his game. That’s an issue.’
Ferdinand reached three Champions League finals with Manchester United, winning once in 2008, and has warned City they cannot expect their usual style of play will work in Europe.
A link-up with his former manager David Moyes at West Ham has been suggested as an option
‘It’s very different,’ Ferdinand explained. ‘You have to adapt your game.
‘For many years at United we were going into Champions League games gung-ho and still playing attacking free-flowing football as if we were in the Premier League.
‘But if you look at the years we were successful in the Champions League, in the big games we were stiff and hard to play against. We knew we had players who could hurt teams on the attack in Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, Nani, Louis Saha and Dimitar Berbatov.
‘But we had to be solid first and that was a very different approach to when we’d play teams in the Premier League. It’s about being adaptable and respecting the tournament.
‘City sometimes have been their own worst enemy in Europe. This is a difficult tie for Guardiola. I am sure he would have picked a number of other teams to play ahead of Lyon.’
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