Hemsworth’s part in World Cup success for England

John Stones.
John Stones.

Hemsworth’s own John Stones took his England career to a new level on Sunday when he scored his first goal for his country and followed up by scoring a second in the 6-1 thrashing of Panama.

The country is going World Cup crazy and beginning to believe in an England team that has already qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament ahead of today’s final group game with Belgium.

And 24-year-old Stones, whose family are from Hemsworth, is a key member of the team in defence as well as attack where his presence from set pieces is proving a key weapon for Gareth Southgate’s side.

The Manchester City player is crowning a great season in which he played for the Premiership winners and has come a long way since starting out in junior football in Hemsworth and joining Barnsley’s academy at the age of seven.

After the Panama game he made it clear that no-one in the England camp wants to let up for the rest of the tournament.

He said: “I think we’ve got to keep a winning run going and that’s what I’ve brought from City to here: you’ve got to keep that momentum going.

“It’s always an added bonus to take it into the next game. I’m trying to keep improving and keep winning games.

As he reflected on his growing status in the England team, Stones was quick to credit his advancement under City boss Pep Guardiola.

He explained “He’s just simplified everything, the way he speaks to you, the way he gives you advice and tells you how to play. From two years ago to now, I’m a different person, a different player. It’s down to him and my team-mates.

“As a kid I never thought I’d even get a chance to play for England let alone score. It’s not really sunk in to be honest.”