Stones comes out on top against Pope
Port Vale striker Tom Pope claimed he would score 40 goals a season if he could play against John Stones every week in a mocking tweet about the Manchester City defender last summer.
Here, the PA news agency looks at how the veteran forward shaped up against Stones in Vale’s FA Cup third-round tie against City at the Etihad Stadium.
7 minutes: Stones gets ahead of Pope to reach a high ball, defending tidily.
15: Stones beats Pope with a simple pass.
22: Stones shows his pace to nip in and intercept a long ball from deep ahead of Pope.
35: City are caught by a Vale break and Pope gets ahead of Taylor Harwood-Bellis to plant a firm header past Claudio Bravo from a David Amoo cross. Stones was not at fault.
58: Stones thinks he has levelled his personal battle with Pope, tucking City’s third goal away from five yards, but it actually went in off Harwood-Bellis.
70: Stones is caught out by Pope attempting an ambitious pass across his own box. Pope deflects the ball into the path of Tom Conlon but he heads wide.
74: Stones has Pope chasing the ball with a simple pass.
Verdict: Stones win
Pope may have grabbed some headlines by fulfilling his boast to score against Stones but the City defender could not be faulted for that goal. That was because Pope, for the large part, chose to line himself up against the inexperienced teenager Harwood-Bellis, rather than Stones.
Stones and Pope were still in close proximity for a lot of the game and the City man was given a scare by his rival when he intercepted that pass late on. That aside though, Stones was not really tested by Pope and City’s victory gives him the last laugh.