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The Manchester City boss spent much of his press conference praising his former Barcelona team-mate and he believes the young Englishman can follow the same path

Pep Guardiola believes John Stones is the heir to his former Barcelona team-mate and good friend Ronald Koeman.

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Guardiola has made Stones a key part of his Manchester City squad after signing him from Everton, where Koeman is now manager, during the summer.

Koeman and Guardiola were key members of Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona ‘Dream Team’ in the early 90s and the Catalan has praised his old colleague as "one of the first central defenders with the quality not just to defend".

He added: "Johann Cruyff bought Koeman to show us, to teach us why we need a central defender like Ronald."

Guardiola was, of course, heavily influenced by Cruyff both as a player and a coach and is now using Stones’ ability to build play from the back in much the same way that Koeman was utilised at Camp Nou.

Asked whether he believes Stones is the heir to Koeman, he nodded and said: "It's quite similar in that they both like to play the ball - so normally a central defender is a big guy, good with their head, mark man-to-man - and we need that, of course. You need central defenders for that. 

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"But now it's a plus if they've got the quality to play. John has similarities to Ronald, especially in the mentality. John is a guy who always wants to play, be under pressure. Normally the players who like to play the ball handle the pressure better than the other ones. I cannot compare them now. Not yet, maybe in the future.

"The long balls of Ronald - he was the best ever. But John is young enough, he can improve. He played with the national team very good. In the last European Cup he didn't play one minute and now he's playing all of the games. Already he's an important player for the national team and I'm so happy for that."

Stones has indeed become a regular starter for England since the summer and he has also become an integral part to Guardiola’s City side.

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But asked why the 21-year-old has settled in so quickly, the Blues boss had a simple answer.

"Because he's good, there's no secrets, in football the good players adapt quickly and John is good and adapts quick. 

"If you ask him something he can do, then all the players can do everything you ask them."

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