‘Stones hasn’t clicked & Guardiola won’t make him better’ – Distin questions Man City’s handling of defender

The former Blues star admits a man following in his footsteps has struggled to justify the faith shown in him since making a £47.5m move

John Stones has failed to “click” at Manchester City, and Pep Guardiola will not make the £47.5 million ($59m) centre-half any better by allowing him to make mistakes, says Sylvain Distin.

The Blues invested heavily in the England international when luring him away from Everton in the summer of 2016.

Stones has formed part of two Premier League title-winning squads and a domestic treble, taking in 129 appearances along the way, and is still only 25 years of age.

He has, however, failed to convince for the most part , with errors creeping into his game amid accusations of over-playing and suffering too many lapses in concentration.

Former City defender Distin admits Stones has not developed as expected, telling The Beautiful Game Podcast of a player who has slipped behind Fernandinho in the pecking order at times: “I’m not sure if he has got that defensive grit. He is an amazing player with the ball, really confident with the ball but that is possibly the modern centre-back. As a modern centre-back, yes he is amazing. Did he fulfil his potential? No.

“He still has a lot to learn and he has to be a lot more consistent. Can he fit in every team? I don’t think so either.

“He is perfect for Guardiola. Will he be perfect for a team who have to be stronger defensively first and then have less possession? I am not sure he is there yet.

“Definitely he has all the attributes but I feel like something didn’t click for him yet.

“He could be much, much better than he is now. When I see that Manchester City would play a midfielder at centre-back when they have two or three centre-backs, as a centre-back that would hurt me greatly.

“That’s my job and you take a midfielder to play in my position? That would hurt me. I don’t know if he doesn’t have the confidence of the manager or if it’s something else but something needs to click with him.”

Distin feels that Stones has lacked the leadership from his last two managers to unlock his full potential , with Roberto Martinez and Guardiola too lenient and not demanding enough.

The Frenchman added: “We had a very similar manager [at Everton] as he has at City now, a manager that likes to play from the back, no matter what.

“That means if you make a costly mistake because he is being too confident or trying to force the play from the back he had a manager who said ‘never mind, you did the right stuff, carry on’.

“If you make a mistake and your manager says ‘it’s fine, don’t worry’ and the next game or two, three games after you make a similar type of mistake and your manager says ‘no, this is what I want to do, you carry on, I don’t care’ you get into a pattern where mentally you feel ‘it’s ok I can make a mistake. That’s what my manager wants’.

“Some will feel that’s brave, but some people will think I don’t know if it’s brave or stupidity.

“When you’re at a place like City it’s ok because they have so much quality but at Everton that would cost us so it’s difficult.

“I know he reacted well every time but I’m a bit scared that because of the last two managers he has had that put him in that pattern of ‘it’s ok to make a mistake don’t worry’.

“With the team and manager they have now he is the perfect player. No disrespect to him, he is a top manager, but will Guardiola make him a better defender? I can’t see it.

“He will make him a better player coming out from the back with the ball but a better defender? I don’t see it happening.”