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Roy Hodgson: 'John Stones still has best years ahead of him'

:Headline: Roy Hodgson: 'John Stones still has best years ahead of him':
Hodgson handed Stones his England debut in 2014.
PA | 1mo

Former England manager Roy Hodgson is confident the best of John Stones is still to come.

The Manchester City defender has endured another inconsistent season in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old suffered criticism after Hodgson's Crystal Palace snatched a surprise 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Hodgson, who handed Stones his England debut in 2014 and took him to Euro 2016, feels the player is being judged harshly.

Stones' Nations League performance against Holland raised scrutiny on the centre back (Mike Egerton/PA)

"John is a good player," Hodgson said. "John's young, too. He still has his best years ahead of him.

"He's still learning the game and learning it in a fantastic environment with very good players around him.

"I still think that John Stones is every bit what we expected him to be but he's playing in a very important goldfish bowl at the moment.

"Every mistake or every good thing is magnified 10 times over. He's very much a player that City and England will have good use from in the future."

Roy Hodgson handed Stones his England debut (Martin Rickett/PA)

Stones began the season facing heightened scrutiny after a horror performance in England's Nations League semi-final loss to Holland last summer.

The spotlight was also increased at City following the departure of former captain Vincent Kompany and injury to fellow centre-back Aymeric Laporte.

Stones' former England team-mate Gary Cahill, also now at Palace, believes he can cope with the criticism.

Cahill said: "I'm sure he has a thick enough skin to deal with that. He had a fantastic World Cup and I hope he stays fit because if he stays fit I'm sure he'll progress under this manager.

“I still think that John Stones is every bit what we expected him to be but he's playing in a very important goldfish bowl at the moment”
- Roy Hodgson

"He has had a couple of injuries which have not helped him but he is a very, very talented footballer and a great defender."

City have sorely missed Laporte, who has been out since suffering a knee injury in August, in what has been a disappointing title defence.

The Frenchman is now back in training and closing in on a return but Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United will come too soon.

There have been suggestions he could feature in next weekend's FA Cup fourth round tie against Fulham but manager Pep Guardiola has not confirmed that.

Aymeric Laporte is nearing a return from long-term injury (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola has also tried to play down expectations ahead of Laporte's comeback.

He said: "We cannot expect that Aymeric is going to solve all of the problems.

"He is getting better and the doctor is going to evaluate him in the training sessions, and I am going to talk to him, (to see) when it will be possible, step by step, to come in.

"But after four or five months out he will need time. He will not be ready immediately to do it."

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418
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