Rio Ferdinand says there are two factors behind John Stones’ struggles at Manchester City – the style, and the lack of Vincent Kompany.
Stones completed his move to City from Everton for £47.5million in the summer, and has only shown brief glimpses of the promise which demanded such a fee.
The 22-year-old has made 31 appearances this season, but was dropped for a run of games in November and December by manager Pep Guardiola.
Ferdinand, speaking to BT Sport, claims that the England international is struggling in part due to his manager’s preferred way of playing.
“It’s about different styles and Stones has clearly been asked to go out there and take risks, and I admire that,” said Ferdinand. “I’d like to have played under Guardiola because I would have enjoyed going out there and taking the ball.
“But it’s about balance and getting that right. What the manager is asking particular players to do is the difference and that’s why Stones needs a Vincent Kompany next to him because the centre-halves he is playing with are not experienced enough in this country.
“He hasn’t set the world alight, nor has Nicolas Otamendi, but if Kompany had been fit enough to play alongside him, it would have helped him and guided him because he is still a young player coming into a new team.
“It’s easier for attacking players coming into a new club for big money – they just need the ball to go into the net off the back of their backside to get a bit of confidence. But when you are a centre-half, you have to make your own confidence.”