John Stones is ready to test himself against the world’s best – and help hone England’s three-man defence.
The Three Lions face Germany for the third time in less than 20 months when the world champions arrive at Wembley for a glamour friendly on Friday.
Brazil follow suit next Tuesday as England look to pit their wits against the best ahead of the World Cup, the kind of challenges Manchester City defender Stones relishes.
“We’ve played Germany twice before, so we know a bit more about them,” the 23-year-old centre-back said.
“Obviously we’ve got a few Brazilians in the team at City, so you get a feel for it.
“But it’s kind of unknown territory, which I think is very exciting for me, personally.
“Coming up against the best always brings you to your best and it creates that challenge.
“It’s one that is going to be a great atmosphere for the fans and to bring them to Wembley, packed out again, we’ve got to go out there and show what we can do and put them on the back foot.
“I think with the players that we’ve got, the hunger that everyone’s got in their bellies, it’s a great occasion.”
Despite being rocked by a succession of injury setbacks, Gareth Southgate is sticking with his plan to run with a three-man defence in these games and beyond.
Stones has started on each of the three occasions England have previously trialled that defensive system and will do so again against Germany.
“I don’t think there’s any preferred system for me, personally,” he said.
“You’ve got adapt to what’s put in front of you and be comfortable enough to be adaptable in however and whatever position you play and whatever system you play.
“I think it’s another string to our bow and me as a player that you can swap and change in the game or whoever you’re playing.
“I feel like I have been developing from the start of last season when I first went to City.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I’ve not been developing, not been learning.
“That doesn’t mean it has always been good. I’ve had to take dips and have a good look at myself.
“I feel every day that I go out on to the training pitch it is a chance to get something out of it and I think the boys all have that same mentality and that’s why everyone’s performing for their club.
“We’ve been on a good run personally and I want to keep that going.”
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