(Reuters) - John Stones admits he will find it strange when the defender returns to Goodison Park for the first time since his big-money transfer from Everton to Manchester City when the sides clash in the Premier League on Sunday.
Stones forced through the move to City in August following a protracted saga, which ended with the 22-year-old’s 47.5 million pound ($57.76 million) switch to Manchester that made him the one of the most expensive defenders in history.
“There’s mixed emotions. I’ve got a lot of friends there, I played a lot of games for Everton and a lot of my family has got friends there, so it’s a big occasion for them, as it is for me,” Stones told Sky Sports.
“It will be strange to go back, as I‘m sure it is for everyone the first time they go back to face their previous club.”
Stones has come under scrutiny this campaign for failing to live up to his price tag and the England international felt he needed time to adjust to the fixture congestion at City.
“Definitely, my performances dipped and I made a few silly mistakes that I’ve tried to correct now. It’s only natural that these things happen, playing so many games,” said Stones, who has already made 30 appearances this season.
”It’s new to me, playing three games a week some weeks and I’ve got to find a way to adapt myself. Everyone’s disappointed when they don’t feel like they play well or they make a mistake.
“I‘m the first one to hold my hand up and try and rectify that in training or the next game.”
Meanwhile, Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori said friendship would count for nothing when he faced Argentine team mates Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi and Pablo Zabaleta in the encounter.
“I know all of them very well. We play with the national team together... We keep in touch but I will be against them if I play against City,” Funes Mori told EvertonTV.
“We want the three points and to keep pushing further up the table.”
City are fourth in the Premier League on 42 points, 12 ahead of seventh-placed Everton after 20 games.
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Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru