Manchester City star John Stones could be England’s answer to Paolo Maldini but with his career on a downward trajectory comparisons with the Italian legend are misguided at best.
The £47.5m signing from Everton was in excellent form for the Citizens during the 2018/19 campaign, while his injury setback in November 2017 was generally perceived to be a huge blow at a time when he was beginning to justify his huge price-tag.
But eighteen months later he finds himself in a difficult period of his career, struggling for game time at the Etihad Stadium and leaving his place in England’s back-four under threat.
Amid his decline, Transfermarkt recently updated their valuations of a bunch of players across world football and Stones was one of the big market movers.
However, he was on the end of a value decrease as he dropped from £54m to £40.5m, which makes him the world’s 17th most valuable central defender.
With his recent valuation shift in mind, Football FanCast take a look at a combination of themes and landmarks which can explain the market shift…
Stones became a victim of his own success during England’s Nations League semi-final clash against the Netherlands in June 2019.
A well crafted playing style which is ideally suited to Pep Guardiola’s philosophy is not necessarily transferable to the national side, and Stones discovered that the hard way against Ronald Koeman’s men.
The 25-year-old defender attempted to swivel away from Memphis Depay on the edge of his own penalty area but surrendered possession before Kyle Walker inadvertently turned the ball into his own net following a fine save from Jordan Pickford.
It illustrated the risks associated with his style of play, and it’s fair to say he’s not been the composed presence he was prior to that high profile mistake.
Stones’ importance at Man City has been diminishing in the 2019/20 season.
He has suffered injury problems which have undoubtedly scuppered his progress, but even with that said it’s clear that Guardiola doesn’t have the same level of trust he had in him last season.
That he has made just 14 starts across all competitions speaks volumes about his position at the club. Last season, by contrast, he started 32 games across all competitions.
Following the departure of Vincent Kompany, the current season provided an ideal opportunity for Stones to stamp his mark and cement his position in the back-four, but that simply hasn’t happened.
At the beginning of March another high-profile mistake haunted Stones – one arriving under the lights at Wembley.
City clinched their third straight EFL Cup but the victory was not as routine as Guardiola may have hoped due to Stones’ slip toward the end of the first half.
With the ball hanging above his head, the England international stumbled to the ground, allowing Anwar El Ghazi to plant the ball on Mbwana Samatta’s head to half the deficit.
The score stayed 2-1 and Stones’ blushes were partially spared, but it rightfully prompted further scrutiny over his trustworthiness in high pressure situations.