Chris Sutton says John Stones will be a weak point for Manchester City

England's John Stones

The former Premier League winner feels players like Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will target the defender.

Everton's John StonesEverton's John Stones

Former Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea forward Chris Sutton has asked serious questions about Manchester City's big money signing of Everton defender John Stones, in an interview with the Mail.

In particular the one-time England man queried Stones' ability to deal with physical situations in defence against powerful and explosive attackers, suggesting players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have a field day with the 22-year-old.

"John Stones can play," Sutton told the Mail. "He paints pictures in his mind about what he can create in front of him and where to pass the ball, but Manchester City have signed a defender whose strength is not his defending.

"He’s a stroller, not a stopper. He can come out and use the ball intelligently, but he lacks defensive instinct. He reacts to danger, rather than anticipating it.

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic warms up before the matchManchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic warms up

"I can imagine Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be among those licking his lips with anticipation, because Stones does not have the physicality to deal with a player like Zlatan and that would worry me."

Sutton pointed to various instances in the previous season when Stones struggled against physical attackers for Everton, and was seriously exposed.

"We saw last season — when Watford’s Odion Ighalo twisted him inside out, Jamie Vardy ran off him and his rash tackle on Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic cost his team the game — that he has weaknesses," Sutton added.

"In the big games, when your opponent is looking for a weakness, Stones will be a target."

The young defender, the second most expensive Englishman ever after City paid a reported £47.5 million to bring him in from Goodison Park (BBC Sport).

Manchester City manager Pep GuardiolaManchester City manager Pep Guardiola

The expectation is that a defender as cultured and technical as Stones will flourish under a manager like Pep Guardiola at the Etihad, but there is certainly some risk associated with that kind of money when you are buying the player someone can become rather than the player that will be arriving.

The Manchester derby is early this season, with City set to visit Old Trafford on September 10, and with many in the media feeling the two clubs are leading rivals for the title this season, it could be a crucial game in the title race, as early in the season as it is.

It will certainly be fascinating to see how Stones and Ibrahimovic fare against each other in what is sure to be an explosive match.

And though the likes of Sutton have reservations about the England international, his potential is undeniable - the hope for City fans is that he fulfils it as quickly as possible.

Everton's John StonesEverton's John Stones

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