By support

16th Aug, 2016 | 1:04pm

Neville delighted Stones quit Everton, compares him to world-class defender

By Harvey Byrne

Gary Neville has revealed that he was glad John Stones quit Everton to join Manchester City – as it is in the best interests of his career development.

The pundit, who knows Stones well from his previous role as England assistant manager, spoke warmly of the defender’s potential on his return to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme.

Neville compared Stones to Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, who suffered some growing pains at Manchester United before developing into one of the world’s finest centre-backs under the guidance of now City manager Pep Guardiola.

“I’m delighted he’s gone to Manchester City, to Guardiola,” said Neville of Stones on Monday Night Football, as quoted by Sky Sports’ transfer centre blog (10.16am).

“It’s the best club for him at the moment with the manager they have.

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“It reminds me of six, seven, eight years ago, a player exposed to Guardiola. It was a young Gerard Pique. You see a lot of Stones in Pique – a person who’s not filled his shirt yet.”

Stones left Goodison Park for Etihad Stadium last week in a £47.5million move that made him the second most expensive defender of all time.

The 22-year-old was highly-rated at Everton and he was also the subject of a length transfer chase from Chelsea led by Jose Mourinho last summer.

He joined the Toffees in 2013 from Barnsley in a £3million deal, meaning that the club made a £44.5million profit on the defender in his three years in the side.

The 10-time capped England international starred in 95 encounters for the Merseysiders winning the club’s Young Player of the Season after the 2014-15 campaign.

In other Everton transfer news, Southampton will only entertain eye watering offers for Toffees targets Charlie Austin and Jose Fonte.