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12th Jul 2018

Roy Keane was unflinchingly blunt in his analysis of John Stones’ performance

He's not one to hold back

Patrick McCarry

Roy Keane doling out another bowl of truth soup.

John Stones had a fine World Cup and will leave the tournament, after the 3rd place playoff, with his reputation enhanced.

The Manchester City defender scored two goals in the World Cup and formed a decent partnership with Kyle Walker and, in particular, Harry Maguire in the English back three.

Midway through extra-time of England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia and Stones paid for briefly switching off before Mario Mandzukic blasted past Jordan Pickford.

Kyle Walker rushed his clearance and Ivan Perisic reacted first to back-head the ball into the box. Stones let Mandzukic get across him and the striker fizzed one home to make it 2-1.

Following the game, Roy Keane told ITV viewers that Stones would have to take his fair share of the blame for Croatia’s winner. He commented:

“We have seen it at Man City, he gets caught out ball watching and he was doing that again for the goal.

“You are not going to get away with that in a World Cup semi-final.”

Love or hate Keane – and he certainly divides opinion – you can never say he sits on the fence in his punditry duties.

It must be noted, Keane has previously criticised Stones on ITV’s Champions League coverage.

After he was out-muscled by Gladbach captain Lars Stindl before his goal in a 1-1 draw, Keane said:

“He’s got to be stronger, he’s got to be tougher. It’s just too easy, he’s like a child getting knocked off the ball,” said Keane.

“He’s hoping one of his teammates can help him out here but they punished and rightly so. Really poor defending, he’s got to be stronger. He’s a good player but he’s just got to be tougher and stronger.”

Keane also noted, after England’s World Cup exit, that he thinks Stones is a good player. Perhaps he just expects more from the lad and was disappointed in him for switching off at such a crucial moment.