John Stones (born 28 May 1994) is an English professional footballer who plays as a centre-back or defensive midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the England national team. Widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world,[3][4][dead link] Stones is known for his technical ability and his physical presence on the field.[5][6][7][8][9]

John Stones
Stones playing for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name John Stones
Date of birth (1994-05-28) 28 May 1994 (age 30)
Place of birth Barnsley, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Position(s) Centre-back, defensive midfielder[2]
Team information
Current team
Manchester City
Number 5
Youth career
0000–2011 Barnsley
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2013 Barnsley 24 (0)
2013–2016 Everton 77 (1)
2016– Manchester City 160 (8)
International career
2012–2013 England U19 3 (0)
2013 England U20 2 (0)
2013–2015 England U21 13 (0)
2014– England 79 (3)
Medal record
Men's football
Representing  England
UEFA European Championship
Runner-up 2020 Europe Team
Runner-up 2024 Germany Team
UEFA Nations League
Third place 2019
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 16:45, 25 May 2024 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 23:30, 14 July 2024 (UTC)

Stones began his career with Barnsley, making his first-team debut in the Championship in March 2012 as a 17-year-old. He joined Premier League club Everton for around £3 million in January 2013 and amassed 95 appearances over four seasons. In August 2016, he signed for Manchester City for an initial £47.5 million with add-ons. With the club, he has won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, two EFL Cups, and the UEFA Champions League as part of a historic continental treble in the 2022–23 season.

Stones made his senior debut for England in May 2014 after previously being capped by England youth teams at under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels. He was chosen in England's squads for the UEFA European Championship in 2016, 2020 and 2024, and the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

Early life

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John Stones[10] was born on 28 May 1994[11] in Barnsley, South Yorkshire,[12] to parents Janet and Peter Stones.[13] He grew up in Thurlstone and attended Penistone Grammar School.[14]

Club career

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Barnsley

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Stones came through the Barnsley youth academy to sign a professional contract in December 2011.[15] He made his first-team debut in the Championship on 17 March 2012, in a 4–0 defeat to Reading at Oakwell, replacing Scott Wiseman after 52 minutes.[16] He scored his only goal for Barnsley on his first start, equalising before half time in a League Cup first round match away to Rochdale on 11 August 2012, which resulted in a 4–3 victory after extra time.[17] A week later, he made his first league start, in a 1–0 victory against Middlesbrough.[18]

Everton

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Stones (centre) playing for Everton in 2014

Stones signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with Everton on 31 January 2013,[19] for a transfer fee reported to be in the region of £3 million.[20] He was an unused substitute for three Premier League matches that season, beginning on 10 February in a 2–0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.[21] Stones made his debut for Everton against Stevenage in the League Cup second round on 28 August 2013, a 2–1 win after extra time at Goodison Park.[22] He made his league debut as a late substitute for Steven Naismith in a 1–0 home win over Chelsea on 14 September 2013.[23] He started his first Premier League game for Everton in a 1–1 draw away to Stoke City on 1 January 2014.[24]

On 7 August 2014, Stones signed a new five-year contract to keep him with Everton until 2019.[25] He suffered an ankle injury against Manchester United on 5 October, ruling him out for between 10 and 14 weeks.[26] Despite the injury, Stones was listed among the nominees for the Golden Boy 2014 Award alongside fellow Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu and fellow England internationals Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and eventual winner Raheem Sterling.[27]

 
Stones (left) playing for Everton in 2015

Stones was sent off in Everton's 4–1 away win at Young Boys in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League on 19 February 2015, for conceding a penalty kick with a foul on Guillaume Hoarau, who went on to miss the spot-kick.[28] He scored his first goal for Everton in a 3–0 home win against Manchester United on 26 April 2015, heading in the team's second goal of the game.[29] In July and August 2015, Stones was reportedly the subject of three bids from Chelsea – of £20 million, £26 million and £30 million – all of which were rejected by Everton.[30][31][32] Stones was reported to have handed in a request to leave Everton, but this was also refused.[33]

Manchester City

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2016–2018

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On 9 August 2016, Manchester City completed the signing of Stones for £47.5 million on a six-year contract with a potential extra £2.5 million in add-ons, making him the world's second most expensive defender in history, behind David Luiz.[34][35][36][37] The announcement followed shortly after the leaking of his arrival, having been included in City's Champions League play-off round squad registration list which UEFA had published on their website prior to confirmation of the move.[38] Through a 15% sell-on clause, Barnsley received £6.78 million from Stones' transfer to Manchester City, an amount larger than any transfer fee they had received in their history.[39]

 
Stones (left) warming up for Manchester City in 2017

Stones made his debut for City four days later as they began the new season with a 2–1 home win over Sunderland, partnering Aleksandar Kolarov in Pep Guardiola's first competitive game in charge.[40] On 6 January 2017, he scored his first goal for the Citizens, heading the last goal of a 5–0 win over West Ham United at London Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup.[41] He scored again on 21 February to give them the lead in a 5–3 comeback win over Monaco in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League,[42] but after losing the tie on away goals he spoke of his disappointment with the team's defending.[43] Stones was subject to criticism from the media for his performances over the season.[44] In interviews at the end of the season, he said that he was disappointed to have not won any trophies and was keen to improve.[45][46]

On 13 September 2017, Stones scored twice in a 4–0 Champions League group win away to Feyenoord, including a second-minute header that was City's fastest goal in the competition's history.[47] He added another header on 1 November in a 4–2 win at Napoli that put his team into the last 16 with two games remaining.[48] Seventeen days later, he withdrew after half an hour of the match away to Leicester City with a hamstring injury that ruled him out for the next six weeks.[49] Stones suffered another injury in March 2018 while on international duty, and in April, Guardiola strongly denied press rumours that he was looking to sell the defender.[50]

2018–2023

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On 3 January 2019, in City's 2–1 victory over Liverpool, Stones made a crucial goal-line clearance which would end up being the decider in City's victory over Liverpool in the Premier League title race.[51] In the summer of 2020, Manchester City purchased centre-backs Rúben Dias and Nathan Aké, pushing Stones down the pecking order.[52] Nevertheless, Guardiola stated that Stones would still be given "the chance to show his quality in this team".[53]

On 6 January 2021, Stones scored the opening goal in a 2–0 away win at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final. He was named Man of the Match and was heavily praised by manager Pep Guardiola after an impressive streak of performances alongside Rúben Dias in defence.[54] Just one day later, Stones was announced as the Manchester City Player of the Month for December 2020.[55] On 17 January 2021, Stones scored his first and second Premier League goals for City, coming in a 4–0 home win over Crystal Palace.[56] His performances earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2020–21 season.[57] On 10 August 2021, Stones signed a new contract with City, keeping him at the club until 2026.[58]

In the 2022–23 season, Stones was converted from a centre-back to a defensive midfielder and found great success in this new position.[59][60][61][62] On 14 March 2023, Stones was highly praised[63] for his performance in a 7–0 win over RB Leipzig.[64] On 17 May 2023, Stones was a standout performer as Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4–0 at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of the 2022–23 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, being described by Jamie Jackson of The Guardian as being in "Franz Beckenbauer mode".[65] Manchester City were crowned champions of the Premier League once again in the 2022–23 season.[66][67] On 3 June, Stones won the FA Cup final against Manchester United.[68] On 10 June 2023, Stones was in the starting line-up for the 2023 UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan in Istanbul, which City went on to win 1–0 for their maiden European Cup.[69] Stones was widely praised for his performance in the final[70][71] and was named as man of the match by Manchester Evening News and by users of BBC Sport.[72][73] He was selected in the 2022–23 UEFA Champions League team of the tournament.[74] Stones was recognised by analysts as one of the most influential contributors to Manchester City's continental treble.[75][76] He was also named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year for his performances.[77]

2023–present

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In pre-season, ahead of the 2023–24 season, Stones suffered a muscle injury.[78] On 16 August 2023, Stones was an unused substitute as City won the 2023 UEFA Super Cup after beating Sevilla 5–4 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 extra-time draw.[79]

International career

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Stones celebrates scoring for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Stones was named in manager Peter Taylor's 21-man squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in May 2013.[80] He made his England U20 debut on 16 June, in a 3–0 win in a warm-up game against Uruguay.[81] He made his under-21s debut against Scotland on 13 August 2013, playing the entire 90 minutes of a 6–0 win for England at Bramall Lane.[82]

Stones was named as a standby player for England's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, but was not included in the final squad. Stones made his England debut on 30 May in a 3–0 friendly win over Peru at Wembley, replacing Everton teammate Leighton Baines for the final 15 minutes.[83] On 3 September 2014, Stones made his first England start in a friendly against Norway at Wembley Stadium.[84] Five days later, in England's first match of UEFA Euro 2016 qualification, Stones made his competitive debut in a 2–0 victory away to Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.[85]

Stones was selected in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for Euro 2016 but did not play any of England's four games in the tournament.[86][87] He was named in the 23-man England squad for the 2018 World Cup.[88] On 24 June, Stones scored his first two international goals in a 6–1 victory over Panama during their second group stage match of the tournament.[89] He became the first Manchester City player to score for England at a World Cup finals since Trevor Francis in 1982.[90] At the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals in Portugal, Stones made an error in the semi-final against the Netherlands, when he gave away possession to Memphis Depay in extra time, leading to one of the goals that defeated England 3–1.[91] Manager Gareth Southgate dropped him from the third-place match against Switzerland, saying that Stones made his mistake because of fatigue.[92]

Stones was named in the England squad for Euro 2020.[93] Stones started all seven of England's games, with England finishing the tournament as runners-up[94] and conceding only two goals, both from set pieces. Stones was named in England's 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.[95] Stones has been a key player for his national team in England's last three major international tournaments, forming a solid defensive partnership with Manchester United defender captain Harry Maguire.[96][97]

He was named in England's 26-man squad for UEFA Euro 2024.[98] Despite speculation regarding an illness, it was announced he had returned to training on 13 June 2024 ahead of their opening match against Serbia.[99] He went on to play the full match against Serbia, partnering Marc Guéhi in central defence as England kept a clean sheet and won 1–0 in Gelsenkirchen.[100]

Style of play

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Known for his technical ability and physical presence, Stones is known for being a ball-playing centre-back.[5] Teammates and coaches have praised his composure with the ball, defensive skills, range of passing, and versatility and vision.[6][7][8][9] Joleon Lescott has said of his ability: "John can do things most defenders can't – a little feign here and there, maybe a turn to get out of trouble when he needs to – and that's what is going to set him apart from others – the ability to do things others can't. He'll do his job and defend well, but there will be moments when he does something special and you'll just go 'ah, that's why he's regarded as the best.' He doesn't seem to get fazed by anything and always seems calm and he never hides".[101] Manchester City and England teammate Kyle Walker added: "You don't quite appreciate him until you are playing alongside him. He rarely gets beat, he is great on the ball and he is very calm and level-headed."[102]

Stones developed his ball-playing style early in his career at Barnsley with many crediting Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola for his later development.[103][104] During the 2022–23 season, Stones began to play what was described as "a hybrid role: defending in the back four when City don't have the ball, and joining Rodri as a double pivot in front of City's back three when they are in possession".[105] Stones' range of passing has led to comparisons to Rio Ferdinand, Gerard Piqué, Jérôme Boateng, Pep Guardiola and Franz Beckenbauer.[6][8][106][107][108] Stones is often known as the Barnsley Busquets and the Barnsley Beckenbauer.[109][110]

Personal life

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Stones met Millie Savage when both were aged 12. They split up in December 2018, when their daughter was 18 months old.[111][112]

Career statistics

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Club

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As of match played 25 May 2024
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Barnsley 2010–11[113] Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2011–12[114] Championship 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
2012–13[115] Championship 22 0 2 0 2 1 26 1
Total 24 0 2 0 2 1 28 1
Everton 2012–13[115] Premier League 0 0 0 0
2013–14[116] Premier League 21 0 3 0 2 0 26 0
2014–15[117] Premier League 23 1 2 0 0 0 3[a] 0 28 1
2015–16[118] Premier League 33 0 2 0 6 0 41 0
Total 77 1 7 0 8 0 3 0 95 1
Manchester City 2016–17[119] Premier League 27 0 4 1 1 0 9[b] 1 41 2
2017–18[120] Premier League 18 0 2 0 4 0 5[b] 3 29 3
2018–19[121] Premier League 24 0 5 0 3 0 6[b] 0 1[c] 0 39 0
2019–20[122] Premier League 16 0 3 0 3 0 1[b] 0 1[c] 0 24 0
2020–21[123] Premier League 22 4 1 0 1 1 11[b] 0 35 5
2021–22[124] Premier League 14 1 4 1 1 0 8[b] 0 0 0 27 2
2022–23[125] Premier League 23 2 2 0 1 0 8[b] 1 0 0 34 3
2023–24[126] Premier League 16 1 3 0 0 0 6[b] 0 3[d] 0 28 1
Total 160 8 24 2 14 1 54 5 5 0 257 16
Career total 261 9 33 2 24 2 57 5 5 0 380 18
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  3. ^ a b Appearance in FA Community Shield
  4. ^ One appearance in FA Community Shield, two appearances in FIFA Club World Cup

International

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As of match played 14 July 2024[127]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
England 2014 4 0
2015 3 0
2016 8 0
2017 7 0
2018 15 2
2019 2 0
2021 16 1
2022 9 0
2023 5 0
2024 10 0
Total 79 3
As of match played 14 July 2024
England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Stones goal[127]
List of international goals scored by John Stones
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 24 June 2018 Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia 28   Panama 1–0 6–1 2018 FIFA World Cup [128]
2 4–0
3 12 October 2021 Wembley Stadium, London, England 53   Hungary 1–1 1–1 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification [129]

Honours

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Manchester City

England

Individual

References

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