Manchester City legend Franny Lee has insisted that under-pressure centre-back John Stones can go on to be as good as England hero Bobby Moore.
Stones was dropped by City boss Pep Guardiola for a 2-0 win against Watford in midweek and the Catalan manager kept the same back four in Sunday's 2-1 win against Arsenal, meaning two games on the bench for Stones.
The English defender signed for City for £50million in the summer from Everton, grabbing headlines. And headlines is one thing Stones hasn't managed to stay out of since joining the Citizens, frequently criticised for mistakes at the back.
Stones will "become an outstanding player"
Lee, though, a respected legend at the Etihad, says he doesn't "care what anyone says," because "John Stones is going to become an outstanding player."
Stones "has all the attributes to be in [the] class," of Bobby Moore, who Lee "played against many times in club football," as well as playing "with him for the England team on around 20 occasions."
Lee described Stones as being "written off in some quarters too quickly." Stones doesn't turn 23 until the end of this season, still incredibly young for a defender. Having played almost 150 first team club games already, Stones' value will rise once more when his form returns and confidence grows.
Stones must work on reading of the game, says Lee
"John is quick, he's good on the ball, he can defend," assured Lee. "The area he needs to work on is his reading of the game, but people remember Bobby Moore from his peak between 24 and 32. John is only 22, so he's going to improve and he will disappoint a lot of pundits."
The words of Lee will be an assurance to Stones, although that's if he isn't steering clear of the media after a barrage of criticism since joining City. Guardiola's decision to drop the Englishman could prove to be a good one if Stones returns in good form.