FIFA World Cup: John Stones feels insulted by claims of England defence being weak link

England defender John Stones has said that he feels insulted by the claims that the Three Lions’ defence is the weak link in the World Cup squad. Stones said that people tend to forget what players have done in the past.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 15, 2022 15:20 IST

Stones has rubbished claims that England’s defence is a cause for concern (Courtesy: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: England defender John Stones has claimed that he feels insulted by the claims that the Three Lions’ backline is the weakest link in the squad.

Gareth Southgate named nine defenders in his 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar. However, a few of them have been struggling with form or injuries.

Harry Maguire has found game time hard to come by at Manchester United while Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is recovering from an injury.

This has raised some concerns about England’s backline but Stones was quick to brush them aside. Speaking to the Sun, the 28-year-old said he felt a bit insulted hearing the claims that the defence was England’s weak point this year. The Manchester City player went on to say that people tend to forget what the stars have done in the past and big-game scenarios and focus on the negative points.

“I am a bit insulted, to be fair. Maybe in the respect that some of the players aren’t playing so regularly or have had injuries perhaps.”

“Sometimes we forget about what players have done in the past — and what they have done in big-game scenarios — and we focus on the negative.”

“You don’t lose quality or class and big-game players turn up, which as an England squad we have done over the past five years, especially in the last World Cup and Euros.”

England’s defence was what helped the Three Lions reach the final of the Euro 2020 and Stones hopes they can replicate it during the World Cup in Qatar.

“Euro 2020 was an incredible tournament from that aspect, of not conceding goals,” he added.

“And you will have heard it for years but the top teams who are successful keep clean sheets in tournaments — that is the basic platform for your team.”

“We definitely have got to find that, whoever is playing in the defence.”

“We had something you can’t teach, or train. We were just on the same page with our mentality. I am excited and positive for us to do that again.”

“We’re on the same page as Bobby Moore for the most clean sheets in a tournament. I was extremely proud when I heard that and it is something that will stick with me until it gets broken — hopefully this tournament.”

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