Manchester City centre back John Stones says he will grab the opportunity 'with both hands' should Pep Guardiola make his fleeting move into midfield a permanent one, after the City boss lost one of his key midfielders to injury just days after the transfer window closed.
City are not short of midfielders, but the club's failed attempts to sign Jorginho in the summer suggest Guardiola feels they need more depth in central midfield, and losing De Bruyne for three months will only serve to amplify that feeling.
With the lack of a proven first team quality alternative to Fernandinho present, Stones was tried in midfield in the closing stages against Arsenal, and while he is in no rush to move out of his familiar position, he says he is willing to play there more often if the situation requires it.
He told the Daily Mail: "That was a tactical move so don’t read too much into it. If the gaffer wants me to do a job, I will grab it with both hands even though I haven’t done it before.
"We have been working hard as a defensive unit in training and that’s my preferred position, one I have played all my life."
Stones became the world's most expensive defender when he signed from Everton for £50m in 2016, seeming to fit the Guardiola mould of a centre back who can comfortably play out from the back.
And while things didn't get off to a seamless start for Stones at City, he has steadily grown into the role, and was one of England's top performers in their run to the World Cup semi finals.
Speaking about Guardiola, Stones added: "Everything is down to fine details, how you can improve. I think back to two years ago [when he left Everton] and each day the willingness to get better - along with my teammates - rubs off from him. That willingness to win, to go the extra mile. It’s why we got the results we did last season."