John Stones hopes rediscovering his best form for Manchester City will lead to an England recall after the defender scored in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Fulham.
Pep Guardiola’s side extended their lead at the Premier League summit to 17 points, with all three goals coming in the second half at Craven Cottage.
It was Stones who got the ball rolling early in the second half, before Gabriel Jesus scored and Sergio Aguero ended his goal drought from the penalty spot.
Stones has now scored five goals in all competitions this season and has strung together a series of fine displays to put himself firmly back on Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate’s radar, and the 26-year-old revealed earning the right to add to his 39 caps was a motivation for him.
Asked if an England recall was on his mind, he said: “Definitely. It’s a massive honour for me and being out of the [recent] squads has been difficult for me.
“It’s been a motivation for me and I’ve worked hard to get back into the team here and the England call-up – if it comes is progress from what I’ve done for City.”
Fulham, fresh from a 1-0 win over champions Liverpool, provided a stern test in a cagey opening 45 minutes before City pulled away.
It was a much-changed visiting side, with Guardiola’s men competing for silverware on four fronts, and Stones was pleased with how the incoming players performed in a testing encounter in London.
“Everyone that came in deserves every bit of credit for the way we played,” he said. “We fought and stayed so patient, which is difficult in moments like this.
“I’m glad to get on the scoresheet again. We knew that they keep such a high line from set-pieces. I tried to time my run as best as I could. The ball was great from Joao [Cancelo]. We told him to go over earlier to have an in-swinging ball and it paid off.
“We know that the squad is rotated because of the schedule of whatever it may be that the manager decides. We all know our roles and responsibilities.
“Give a lot of credit to Fulham. The way they play their football doesn’t really reflect where they are in the table.
“They’re a strong opposition and they made it hard for us in the first half. It was hard to find space in the pockets and in behind.
“We corrected a few things and it was great to get three points again and another clean sheet.”