John Stones is bidding to become “the best in the world”, but acknowledges that he will need to accept squad rotation at Manchester City.
The England international slipped out of favour under Pep Guardiola towards the end of last season, but impressed for his country at World Cup 2018.
At just 24 years of age, there is still room for improvement in a player yet to reach his peak.
Stones believes he is working with the perfect coach to unlock that potential, with regular game time still expected as he chases down the ultimate goal of becoming the finest defender on the planet.
“For me, he’s [Guardiola] the best manager in the world and the trust he has had in me has brought me on so much. It’s the best place for me to be in my career,” Stones told Sky Sports.
“I know he’s got all our backs in the dressing room as we would with him and I think that’s why we’re so strong and such a collective. Everyone fights for each other on and off the pitch and we keep improving because he invests so much time into each individual. He puts pressure on us to improve and he’s seen the results.
“I 100 per cent want to be one of the best in the world, but I know it will take time and hard work on and off the pitch.
“I don’t think I will be in the team every week because I don’t think anyone can. The amount of games are so demanding. But to be in the majority is something I strive for, I want to keep improving and striving to better myself and beat the targets we set last season.”
Reigning Premier League champions City, who broke a host of records last season, are set to open their 2018-19 campaign away at Arsenal on Sunday.
Stones will be hoping to play some part at Emirates Stadium, with the ball-playing centre-half of the opinion that he has already made tweaks to his game which make him a more rounded performer.
He added: “I know when there’s a time to play and not to play and I’ve learned the hard way a few times, but it’s stood me in good stead.
“I’m not afraid or shy of putting it into Row Z, but it’s great to have a manager’s backing on those things.”