Roberto Martinez can’t speak highly enough of John Stones, who he feels has all the ingredients to become an Everton captain of the future.
David Moyes paid Barnsley £3million to add Stones to his Toffees squad in January 2013, six months before the Scot left Merseyside to join Manchester United. The central defender has since gone on to make 44 appearances in all competitions for the Blues, and has been so impressive that he has also been capped at international level by Roy Hodgson’s England on four occasions.
Although Everton have been uncharacteristically charitable in defence this season – only four teams have conceded more than the 41 goals they have shipped – Stones has once more impressed when called upon. Indeed, as he continues to develop into one of the best centre-halves in English football, Martinez has tipped the 20-year-old to captain the side in the future.
“In terms of a young centre-half with potential, John is as good as it gets,” the Spaniard told Henry Winter of the Telegraph. “He has got the essence, the material, the responsibility. He understands what it takes for a player to be a leader by action. He’s getting integrated into the Everton culture. It’s been impressive how he’s reacted every time he plays, how he became better the next time.”
It has been a difficult campaign for Everton this term, in what many of their fans had hoped to see a push for a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League football. Instead, with just 10 matches remaining, they are just six points above the relegation zone. They can, however, take their place in the premier club competition in Europe if they lift the UEFA Europa League, in which they are in the last 16.