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Stones keen to replicate Manchester City form for England

John Stones believes England are capable of producing performances against high-calibre opposition akin to Manchester City’s display in their victory at Chelsea on Saturday.

City’s bold, positive approach to the match at Stamford Bridge paid off, with them dominating proceedings as they underlined their Premier League title credentials with a 1-0 win over the champions.

Having played the full duration for the visitors, centre-back Stones has since joined up with England, who are on the brink of securing qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.

The 23-year-old was asked ahead of Thursday’s home clash with Slovenia about the possibility of the national team being as courageous as City were at the weekend and similarly dominant against top-level sides.

And Stones said: “We have the players to do it.

“It is difficult to bring how you play in the Premier League into international football, it is so different.

“But we are always striving to become better, and there is a lot of likeness between how City play and international football.”

Stones, who is expected to come into the England side on Thursday in the absence of the injured Phil Jones, rates his individual performance on Saturday as one of the best of his career.

There has been some criticism of him since he signed for City for £47.5million in the summer of 2016, but he feels he has “always been moving in the right direction”.

And he is keen to point to his recent record as evidence of how he is faring at the moment – in the nine games he has started this season, City have kept seven clean sheets.

“As a player, I think I’ve always been moving in the right direction,” Stones said.

John Stones

“Everyone has their ups and downs. We have started this season well as a team.

“It was an important game (on Saturday) and defensively, on a personal note, I think it’s maybe one of the best games I’ve played in.

“I’m just trying to keep improving, day in and day out, mentally, physically and tactically on the training pitch.

“I think the hunger to keep improving and getting to more targets in my game is making me strive to become better.

“And keeping clean sheets – I think that has spoken for itself really over the last few games.

“So I’m enjoying my football, and any player that’s had a dip or anything will say the best bit is when you are enjoying it.”

Regarding City manager Pep Guardiola, Stones added: “(He has been) really good – always positive and wanting me to do better, and that is how I try to repay him on the pitch, keeping improving.

“I feel like I am developing as a player and a person under him, and it is all down to the players around me, Pep himself and the staff that are there.”

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