Sat, 23 Sep 2023

Manchester [UK], June 7 (ANI): Ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, Manchester City defender John Stones reflected on the time when he thought he wouldn't be able to become a professional player.

In the past few years, Stones has turned his entire career around under Pep Guardiola in the past few years. After overcoming his injury issues, the English defender is now a regular in Guardiola's side and now he is one step away from becoming a treble-winner.

A decade ago, Stones was coming through the academy ranks at Barnsley. The 29-year-old began his career at the club, before leaving for Everton.

"I never thought I'd be a professional, let alone playing for England, playing in the Premier League, never mind winning the Premier League," John Stones told Sky Sports.

"It's strange to say it sometimes. From where I came from, the journey and everything that made me who I am today, I can't put it into words sometimes," he said.

Stones had the opportunity to clinch the City's first UCL title as he was part of the Blues team that lost the 2021 Champions League final to Chelsea in Porto. After that, the defender has taken a vow to not let that outcome repeat again.

"Don't [let it] happen again, first and foremost. It was somewhere where we had never been before and a situation we had never been in. With all the experience that we have and had, sometimes you can't just put it into words or put something on it or know what to do in a certain situation," Stones added.

"Now, being through that difficult time, coming out on the losing side was super hard and hit home hard. That's one of the biggest feelings that sticks with you and you don't want to feel that again.

"We have seemed a lot calmer and confident going into this game. Knowing that we should believe in ourselves and in what we have achieved already and how we're playing, there are so many factors that come into play," Stones concluded.

Manchester City will face Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Sunday at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, in Istanbul. (ANI)

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