Manchester City’s John Stones is “the best” because he offers “something extra” to most defenders, says Joleon Lescott.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks, with his career path having taken him from Barnsley to the Etihad Stadium and England recognition via Everton and a record-breaking £47.5 million transfer.
He has faced criticism at times for over-playing, with a desire to play out of the back getting him into trouble at times.
Stones has, however, continued on his upward curve in 2017-18 as part of an in-form City team and Lescott believes that the talented centre-half now boasts all of the attributes required to sit alongside the likes of team-mate Vincent Kompany and the finest performers on the planet.
The ex-City and England defender told the Blues’ official website: “Stones can obviously defend but not everyone is a Vincent Kompany and there aren’t many defenders who will be as good as Vinny in one-on-ones, in the air and so on.
“Vinny has his own style – I had a different style when I played alongside him, hence the reason we probably worked so well together.
“So, while John isn’t that style of defender, he can defend as well as most and then he has that little bit of something extra."
Lescott, who tasted two Premier League title triumphs along with FA Cup and League success during his time with City, added: "John can do things most defenders can’t – a little feign here and there, maybe a turn to get out of trouble when he needs to – and that’s what is going to set him apart from others – the ability to things others can’t.
“He’ll do his job and defend well, but there will be moments when he does something special and you’ll just go ‘ah, that’s why he’s regarded as the best.’
“He doesn’t seem to get fazed by anything and always seems calm and he never hides – he’s got everything and he’ll get to wherever he wants to get because we have to remember he’s still only 23.
“I’ve been really impressed by him, especially this season where he seems to be going from strength to strength.”
Stones has been an ever-present for City in 2017-18, taking in 17 appearances across all competitions as Pep Guardiola’s side have starred in the Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League.