John Stones has vowed to continue taking risks, with Manchester City’s fine form allowing him to express himself.
The England international defender has faced criticism at times for over-playing, with the 23-year-old accused of placing too much emphasis on ball retention.
That is, however, a philosophy being hammered into City by Pep Guardiola, with the Catalan coach eager to see his free-scoring Premier League leaders be successful while playing in the right manner.
Their exploits this season, which see them remain unbeaten, have helped to take some of the pressure off a defensive unit which has been rarely troubled, with Stones being given the freedom to continue learning on the job without the fear of repercussion.
A man who joined City for £47.5 million in the summer of 2016 told reporters in the wake of a 3-1 victory over Arsenal which has Guardiola’s side eight points clear at the top of the table: “You’ve heard it before but when you’re enjoying it and playing well, your mind is free and things come off for you.
“It’s a joy to play in this team and, when you are winning and the boys are playing as they are, it’s hard to describe.
“As defenders we want more clean sheets and we should have had one against Arsenal on Sunday – but we have stopped a top-quality strike-force really. We kept them to minimal chances.
“I want to keep improving, keep this form going and strive to keep getting better. I think I am every day.
“If I keep doing that, keep doing things right then hopefully I can stay at this level of form. Everyone would love to stay at their peak for 10 years but it’s not going to happen.
“Things will happen like on Sunday, I was running out with the ball and I lost it a few times but you keep going at it and keep that mental strength knowing it will come off if you keep doing it.”
Stones has been an ever-present for City in the Premier League this season, taking in 11 appearances.
He has helped them to keep six clean sheets, while also making positive progress in Carabao Cup and Champions League competition.
Guardiola’s side will return to domestic action after the international break with a trip to Leicester on November 18.