Harry Maguire says John Stones helped him get through difficult times
The Manchester rivals still depend on each other during tough times
Harry Maguire has opened up on his long standing friendship with John Stones, revealing that they have supported each other through tough times in their careers.
As the pair prepare to line up alongside one another for England after Stones' return to the set-up, Maguire reflected on the rollercoaster journey both defenders have endured over the past three years.
"He's a good friend. I grew up with him, I grew up playing against him when he was at Barnsley," Maguire said.
"We're not far from each other where we actually grew up and lived and come through," he added, recalling their youth spent in Yorkshire at Sheffield United and Barnsley.
"When you play centre-back especially, week in, week out you're going to have some ups, you're going have some downs, you're going to be at fault.
"You're not going to go throughout your career without being at fault for goals, so you get scrutinised when you play in the Premier League so you expect that.
"It's about how strong you are mentally and how you can come through it."
Both players have endured difficult spells in recent years. Stones was on the fringes of the Manchester City squad and close to being sold after a string of underwhelming performances and seemingly depleting confidence. But his return to Pep Guardiola's starting XI has been an inspirational journey.
Maguire, meanwhile, struggled for form at the start of this season after his Greek holiday debacle and was heavily scrutinised in the media and by fans.
Both players supported one another through those difficult patches and now look to be in good form heading into the Euros this summer.
"I'm pleased to see John. He's back playing and back playing with confidence, back playing really well. And for myself, I feel exactly the same," Maguire explained.
"We spoke to each other through times where it's tough. We spoke when it was tough and we speak when it's going well.
"Like I say, I'm close with John. You go through ups and downs and it's about how you bounce back and believing in yourself and working hard. That's only what you can do."
The lowest point of Maguire's dip in form came when he was sent off in an England friendly against Denmark last October, a moment he described as "disappointing."
But he added: "The support that I've got from friends, family, and obviously Gareth and Ole at Manchester United, the faith that they've shown in me and the trust that they've shown in me to keep picking me, keep playing me.
"When I'm available, I've always been selected in the England squad, so that gives me great confidence and I feel the trust with that.
"I think a big thing when you are going through downs, you know that you'll always come out if you keep strong and keep fighting and keep working hard."