Manchester City and England centre-back John Stones backs 'partner' Harry Maguire

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Manchester City centre-back John Stones believes form and club minutes are irrelevant when it comes to the World Cup, and is backing Manchester United captain Harry Maguire to deliver on the big stage for England.

Stones and Maguire are experienced in leading their country deep into big tournaments, starting alongside each other in both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and the Euro 2020 final.

While Stones, 28, remains in terrific standing back at City, starting almost every game he is healthy for, it has been a different story for 29-year-old Maguire this campaign with United.

After starting the first two games of the Premier League season, a benching followed by a hamstring injury has seen him make only one start since, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane overtaking the club captain.

Despite Maguire's lack of a perfect preparation, Stones said he knows he can still perform at a high level if that is how manager Gareth Southgate chooses to line up.

"Whatever team or whatever system Gareth decides, if it's me and Harry we will use those bonds again," he said.

"They are too strong to be broken by game time, form, whatever it is. That kind of goes out the window when these moments hit.

"When I look at Harry, I see a partner. Through all our experiences he's had my back and I've had his.

"We've had so many games together, we've made a bond and a partnership together. We know what the other person is going to do and how we work best together. It clicks."

England kick off their campaign on November 21 against Iran, before closing out the group stage with fixtures against the United States and Wales.