Gareth Southgate is utilising Pep Guardiola's style of play to help England adopt a new approach, according to defender John Stones.
The Manchester City man checked in a colossal showing as the Three Lions comfortably overcame the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night, with teammate Kyle Walker featuring alongside the 23-year-old in the back three also demonstrating his versatility.
England's style of play under the 47-year-old has been revolutionised compared to his predecessors, with the former Under-21 manager encouraging his defenders to play out from the back almost at all times.
And Stones admitted to The Mirror that the similarities between both Guardiola and Southgate's styles have made it an easy transition for him and some of his teammates.
John stones what a player!— Kenji Gorré (@KenjiGorre) March 23, 2018
“It stands us in good stead, we work hard on the training pitch under Pep. We learn a lot of things, different styles of play, how to play against different formations. I think it gives you that head start coming into England and we can share our ideas as well.
“At City you’ve seen us play our full backs kind of come inside, he’s used to it. He played liked he’d played there for years. Credit to Kyle, he’s got all the attributes. He had an unbelievable game again.
“We’ve got the players to do it and players do it at their clubs so it’s not a massive difference for us when we come here. That’s a big thing. If you’re trying to change everyone’s style of play, it’s not going to happen.
John Stones says he has "stayed positive" and is ready to take his chances after struggling for game time at Manchester City of late. pic.twitter.com/NZXpZDT2Lz— City Watch (@City_Watch) March 25, 2018
“It’s difficult, it’s the top level, you’re playing for England. It’s good every team plays a similar type of football and we come here and it gels together. The manager picks his players knowing what we he wants and he picks his players wisely.
“I enjoyed myself, I always do when I put on the England shirt. I think that’s what any footballer wants, to enjoy themselves, if it’s for club or country. I definitely enjoyed myself in Holland.”
Although England are struggling to score goals, with their solitary strike against Holland only their third in 450 minutes, the international side are becoming harder to beat, with Friday's victory their fifth consecutive clean sheet.
And despite the Three Lions, arguably, not facing a significant attacking threat in a competitive setting under Southgate as of yet, Stones revealed the defenders are enjoying their new found freedom.
“There were mistakes against Holland and I think the character the boys showed was massive", he added. "It’s a difficult one to say because obviously it’s not happened yet and we want to take that forward, keep moving forward and play the football that we are.
“I think it’s the right way. I’m probably biased in that respect but everyone’s on-board with it. If it happens, it happens.
“You’ve got to stay mentally strong and not shy away from it because you’ve seen against Holland we created a lot of chances from playing out [from the back] and that’s a massive thing.
“If we’ve got that quality that all the big teams do have then we have to stay mentally strong and keep the fans behind us and stay in that positive mind-frame.
“I think in training there are always discussions going on if something’s not right between players and the coaching staff and I think that’s healthy. You’ve got to get it off your chest and make sure you go into the game with nothing on your mind or any doubts.”