England defender John Stones says his “bond” with Harry Maguire will not be affected by Maguire’s recent lack of football going into the 2022 World Cup.
Centre-back pairing Stones and Maguire are going into their third major tournament together, after the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.
Maguire has only started one Manchester United league game since August.
“When I look at Harry, I see a partner. Through all our experiences he’s had my back and I’ve had his,” Stones said.
“We’ve had so many games together, we’ve made a bond and a partnership together. We know what the other person is going to do and how we work best together. It clicks.”
Manchester City defender Stones and United’s Maguire have played together 29 times, including in England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final.
Gareth Southgate’s side face Iran in their World Cup opener on Monday, 21 November (13:00 GMT).
Maguire, 29, has fallen out of favour at United – despite being their captain – and has only played nine times for them this season, with five of those appearances in cup games.
He has also been booed by England fans on more than one occasion in 2022.
“Whatever team or whatever system Gareth decides, if it’s me and Harry we will use those bonds again,” Stones added.
“They are too strong to be broken by game time, form, whatever it is. That kind of goes out the window when these moments hit.”