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Leonardo Bonucci reveals he ‘struggles to find a deficiency’ in Manchester City defender



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Manchester City and England international centre-back John Stones is a player that Italian football great Leonardo Bonucci adores, the player has admitted in an interview.

The 28-year-old versatile defender – who has operated in a number of positions under Pep Guardiola since first joining the club in 2016 – has been integral to the way Manchester City have adapted their style of play over the last few seasons.

The Treble winning campaign of 2022/23 saw Stones ultimately take up an inverted full-back role, operating alongside Rodri at the base of Manchester City’s midfield and offering a defensive line further support.

It is John Stones’ all-round game that has now caught the attention of one of the sport’s all-time great defenders, with Italian football icon Leonardo Bonucci heaping praise on the Manchester City man.

Speaking in a recent interview with The Sun, Leonardo Bonucci admits John Stones is not only a ‘nasty defender’ but also ‘one of the best in the world’, in a conversation that saw the Italian glow with praise for the Manchester City defender.

“I struggle to find a deficiency in players like (John) Stones, who have won what he did,” Bonucci explained. “He’s a leader, reads the game well, has rhythms and is intelligent. He’s a technical player and a nasty defender.

“At City, (Pep) Guardiola saw a perfect role for him, to be more of a ball-playing defender. He makes mistakes but who doesn’t? He’s still young and has a lot of time to improve and keep winning.”

Bonucci continued, “In the end, who decides if someone is the best in the world? The fans, but with all due respect, it’s got really whether they like you or not. Stones has done great things and I like him a lot. He’s one of the best in the world.”

John Stones is currently enduring a run of injury concerns and his latest set-back has seen him undergo a problem on his ankle following a collision in Manchester City’s recent victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

Stones is likely to return to action for Pep Guardiola’s side at some stage in late January, with the Premier League champions travelling to Abu Dhabi for a warm weather training camp following their clashes with Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United in the next two weeks.