Guardiola: Stones can be the new Koeman

Pep Guardiola sees parallels between £50million summer signing John Stones and his former Barcelona team-mate Ronald Koeman.

Guardiola and Koeman will be in opposite dug-outs today when Everton visit Manchester City, but the two managers remain on good terms after their playing days together at the Nou Camp.

Ex-Dutch international Koeman was revered as a ball-playing centre-half in his heyday with Ajax, PSV and Barcelona after lifting eight league championships, plus the European Cup.

But Guardiola believes the comparisons between Koeman and new Man City centre-half Stones are fair after the England international’s impressive start to his career at the Etihad.

“They’re quite similar in the sense that they both like to play the ball,” said Guardiola.

“Normally, a central defender is a big guy who plays with the head and marks man to man and is strong in the air.

“We need that, of course, but now it’s the added plus of the quality of his play. John has similarities to Ronald, especially in terms of mentality.

“John is a guy who wants to play under pressure. Normally, the players who like to play the ball handle the pressure better than the other ones.

“Ronald was by far one of the best central defenders I’ve ever met. I cannot compare now, not yet, but maybe in the future.

“The long balls are always… wow. Ronald was the best ever at that. But John is young enough that he can improve.”