Rio Ferdinand has backed John Stones to cement a starting place in Sam Allardyce’s England line-up after completing a £47.5m transfer to Manchester City from Everton this week.
The 22-year-old was subject to interest from Chelsea last summer but the west London club’s malevolence in the transfer market cost them the opportunity to sign the former Barnsley defender.
Pep Guardiola, the City manager, benefited from their antics instead and Ferdinand believes his lucrative Etihad switch could aid his efforts to become England’s first choice centre-back.
The former Manchester United defender said: “At international level, if you look at the last two tournaments, we haven’t had a player who can bring the ball out of defence, who can put his foot on the ball and go, ‘Right, let me control it a little bit or step into midfield’.
“Someone like Stones brings something extra to the team. I watched him play for Everton against Manchester United, and he was the only one who was being forceful on the ball and trying to create things for his team-mates.”
Ferdinand lifted six Premier League titles at Old Trafford, including one Champions League triumph in 2008, following a £30m from Leeds United in 2002 while earning 81 caps for his country. The 37-year-old believes Stones has the right mentality to follow in his footsteps on the opposite side of town in Manchester.
“I started thinking that he’s got the personality and he wants to be a player. You’ve got to build your team around people like that. That’s where I see a lot of myself in him – I see a lot of what Glenn Hoddle [former England manager] was trying to do with me.”
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