‘I can’t put it into words’: John Stones insists he ‘never thought’ he’d make it as a professional footballer ahead of Man City’s Champions League final against Inter Milan
Manchester City defender John Stones has admitted that he never believed he would make it as a professional football player, yet alone play for England and win a Premier League.
The 29-year-old has been one of the standout players in world football this season, excelling in Pep Guardiola’s new system as a hybrid midfielder.
However, the former Barnsley and Everton star has revealed that he doubted that he could play at the top level during his career as when speaking to Sky Sports News, Stones was asked if, during his time at Barnsley, he ever imagined playing at the top level.
He replied: ‘Definitely not, it’s as simple as that. I never thought I’d be a professional, let alone playing for England, playing in the Premier League, never mind winning the Premier League.
‘It’s strange to say it sometimes. From where I came from, the journey and everything that made me who I am today, I can’t put it into words sometimes.’
John Stones has been impressive in a new midfield role under Pep Guardiola this season
The 29-year-old was crucial for the Citizens as they lifted the Premier League title again
Stones formed a strong relationship with new signing Erling Haaland as they lifted the FA Cup
Stones is part of the City side seeking history this week as they look to complete a famous treble, having already lifted the Premier League and FA Cup this season.
Guardiola’s men face Inter Milan in the Champions League final and will be looking to go one further than they did in 2021, losing out to Chelsea in Porto.
When asked about what he learned from the defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s then-side, Stones said: ‘Don’t [let it] happen again, first and foremost.
‘It was somewhere where we had never been before and a situation we had never been in. With all the experience that we have and had, sometimes you can’t just put it into words or put something on it or know what to do in a certain situation.
‘Now, being through that difficult time, coming out on the losing side was super hard and hit home hard. That’s one of the biggest feelings that sticks with you and you don’t want to feel that again.’
The defender believes that his side are preparing in a calmer fashion this time around, and remains confident of lifting the first Champions League in Man City’s history this Saturday.
‘We have seemed a lot calmer and confident going into this game,’ he added.
‘Knowing that we should believe in ourselves and in what we have achieved already and how we’re playing, there are so many factors that come into play.’