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John Stones wants to continue improving after solid World Cup

Manchester City and England defender John Stones has insisted he will continue to self-criticise in order for him to learn and grow as a player.

Stones played a vital role in England’s World Cup campaign, which saw the Three Lions reach the semi-final for the first time since 1990.

The 24-year-old grabbed a brace against Panama during their 6-1 thrashing of the North American side, but will be remembered in the tournament for his solid defensive play.

Having been an unused squad member under Roy Hodgson for Euro 2016, Stones was the only outfield player to start all seven matches for Gareth Southgate’s side this summer, and says he is proud of such a record.

Speaking in an interview with BT Sport, the centre-back said he believes he has improved as both a person and a footballer.

“For me to play seven games and reach the semi-final is a great record which I’m proud of,” he said.

“I wanted to play in every game because it was a difficult tournament in France two years ago. I know how it felt not to play a game. It’s a very different scenario.

“I feel I’ve improved as a person and a footballer over the last few weeks on the biggest stage in the world. I’ve tried to give my best and give everything to the team. I’ve enjoyed my football, I’ve enjoyed the challenges of playing in the biggest games.”

“I felt like I’ve expressed myself, tried to bring everything to the table. I can honestly say I gave it my all, I’ve left nothing out on the pitch.

“It’s been a great benchmark for what you do as England. We’ve set a standard. But we don’t just want to maintain that, we want to improve on it.

“That’s the aim now. We’ll go away and reflect a lot. I will watch all the games back in my own time, what we did at both ends of the pitch.

“I think it is always good to self-analyse, be self-critical. That is how I’ve got through so far and improved. You’ve got to be harsh on yourself because it is the only way you are going to get better by studying those situations where you may have fallen short.”
[Quotes via BT Sport]