Published 28 May 2021 3 min read
John Stones

John Stones: This Is Football

Written by:

John Stones

The Three Lions defender takes us back to his days growing up and discovering his love for the game, at his local grassroots club Penistone Church...
28 May 2021 3:45

This Is Football: John Stones


The England defender and former coaches at his local club look back at his early years in grassroots football

Falling in love with it was easy, really, because it was all I knew. 
 
Looking back, you’re just out all the time and wherever it was, you’d just throw your jumpers down for a post. 
 
Outside my house, I lived on a hill and it was on a bend with a wall straight behind it, but it was on to someone's house. 
 
So, literally, I've been trying to score goals in this street sign and I’d have people coming out saying: “Come on, it's getting late now and all we can hear is this ball bouncing off of our wall!”
 
My dad took me to a training session when I was four or five. That's the first time that I remember it on this little five-a-side astroturf pitch, you know, if you slide you're scratching everything.
The Three Lions and Manchester City defender started out with his local grassroots club, Penistone Church
The Three Lions and Manchester City defender started out with his local grassroots club, Penistone Church
And me and my dad would like, at any opportunity, we'd be out on the street or walk to the school fields. 
 
I always went to the same goalposts to play in if we went up to the field. 
 
The same position, always do the same thing, try and cross a ball like Beckham. I loved Beckham as a kid. I’d try and do his technique, and I’ve still never worked it out!  
 
But if you dream big, you can get there. Sometimes it's not going to be the easiest path. 
 
You know, I never thought I'd be a footballer or a professional footballer. 
 
But I always wanted to play for my hometown, and I did that. 
 
And I always had a dream of like, ‘oh, what would it be like to play for England?’ 
 
When I played for England I thought my dream has literally come true. 

INSPIRED? FIND A GRASSROOTS CLUB FOR YOU