Cape Town - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he may consider deploying John Stones as a holding midfielder if he doesn't play regularly at centre-back.
The England international moved into midfield late into the 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, when Vincent Kompany came off the bench, and Guardiola is now toying with the idea of playing Stones there more often.
The City boss admitted that Stones may find it difficult to take either Kompany or Nicolas Otamendi's respective spots at centre-back this season, but added that he could occasionally be used in midfield.
"John made an excellent World Cup and showed again his personality," Guardiola told the press.
"I was happy to see him in the last 10 or 15 minutes like a holding midfielder. John maybe can play there.
"We will see what's going on in the future. In the Premier League there are a huge amount of games and everybody will be involved."
Asked if Stones would feature regularly at centre-back, the former Barcelona manager added: "John has to know he has to play at a good level because Vincent and Nico [Nicolas Otamendi] are there, and they are going to play.
"Then, they have to play good. In the higher teams in the top tier, when they play in all competitions, you need this kind of competition."
City open the defence of their Premier League title against Arsenal on Sunday, August 12.
Kick-off is at 17:00 (SA time).