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Manchester City right-back John Stones has listed four questions that need asking when the club players are left out of the game.
The 25-year-old had to miss much of the opening two months of this season with an injury. Even after his return, he found Fernandinho preferred in the central defence. Pep Guardiola had changed the playing positions for a more successful game.
Stones has started the last Premier League games, however, was a substitute in the Carabao Cup and Champions League.
He explained how it is important to focus on the playing moments rather than the time on the sidelines ahead of the Burnley clash.
He told: “I think every player knows they’re going to play; it’s such a long season in all competitions. The manager wants us all fit, and he chooses to depend on how many games players have played. It’s something we don’t always know, but we know we’re all a vital part of the puzzle, and we should all be ready when called upon. It’s a great position. I don’t like looking on it as a negative when you don’t play. I think he’s done it for a reason, for what’s best for the team and we’ve got a lot of great players. When the mentality when you don’t play is: ‘how can I help the team?’, ‘how can I affect it on the pitch?’, ‘how can I give the best minutes if I get to put on at the end and what’s my role?’, that’s what the manager is looking for, that togetherness. You’ve got to be very selfless when you’re not in the team and know there’s a reason behind that, and that’s something everyone’s grasped in our squad.”
Stones and Otamendi had a great partnership when playing in the first half of the campaign when City earned 100 points but had to stay on the bench last season while Aymeric Laporte and Vincent Kompany were chosen to playing in the starting squad.
Speaking on the case, the right back added: “It’s a great challenge for myself to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep improving and trying to get in the starting 11. No-one in the squad is guaranteed a spot in the starting 11, and it’s all healthy competition. That’s why I think we’ve been so successful in previous seasons, because everyone’s been on their game, and everyone’s added, played big roles in games where we’ve needed a win. Everyone’s got different qualities, that’s why the manager chooses the side to face different opponents because our qualities fit that game, or certain qualities will fit another game. It’s all about being ready when called upon.”