'He is strong enough' - Guardiola backs Stones to handle hostile Everton atmosphere

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Sunday marks a first return to Goodison Park for the defender, but Manchester City's manager is confident the England international will be fine

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes John Stones will have no trouble dealing with a potentially hostile reception upon his return to Everton.

Stones left Goodison Park for City in August for a reported fee of close to £50million, and Sunday's Premier League meeting represents his first visit to his former club.

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The England international has experienced a mixed first few months at City, plenty of assured displays interspersed with the odd defensive howler.

Stones could be a target for abuse from the Everton faithful, but Guardiola anticipates the 22-year-old will take it all in his stride.

"He has lots of time, we are here to help him reach the huge level we're sure he has," Guardiola said in Friday's media conference.

"He is strong enough, I don't have doubts. In terms of action he is strong - I would like a player to come back to Man City and the fans to respect him but I'm not concerned.

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"Hopefully they can respect him. Everton have a lot influence on him but he will try and play as well as possible for Man City.

"I think when all former players come back they want to show how good they are. They don't have regrets or complaints, completely opposite."

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