England recall would mean everything to me, says Man City's Stones

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Crystal Palace - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - January 17, 2021 Manchester City's John Stones celebrates scoring their third goal Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

(Reuters) - John Stones has established himself at the heart of the Manchester City defence this season and he hopes his return to form will prompt England coach Gareth Southgate to bring him back into the national squad.

Stones, who has not played for England side since 2019, has forged a formidable centre back partnership with Ruben Dias at City. The pair have conceded one goal in the 10 games they have started together.

Stones, who scored twice in City's 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, told British media an England recall "would mean everything".

"Watching them on TV is something no player wants to do," said Stones. "All I can do is get a run of games and impress Gareth. If it happens it happens."

Stones was hailed as one of England's brightest talents when he arrived at City from Everton for 47.5 million pounds ($64.51 million) in 2016 but struggled to hold down a regular place under Pep Guardiola.

The 26-year-old made just 16 league appearances last season and said he often put too much pressure on himself when he was given an opportunity.

"When you do get a chance, you don't perform because you are putting too much pressure on yourself," he added. "I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and tell myself I was doing everything to get back, to keep the faith, keep grinding away."

With Liverpool defender Joe Gomez out with a knee injury, Stones could return to the England squad for their World Cup qualifiers in March.

($1 = 0.7364 pounds)

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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