Everton’s John Stones was not exactly a classic high-profile signing when he arrived at Goodison Park on January Deadline Day 2013, with the transfer pretty much going unnoticed by most.
Now the 20-year-old is one of the most impressive young players in the Premier League and he has the potential to become a future Everton and even England captain. John Stones made his debut for Barnsley aged 17 and made a total of 28 appearances for The Tykes, before The Toffees secured his signature for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be around £3m.
Seemingly out of nowhere, and mainly due to injuries to the Everton defence, Stones was given his Premier League debut in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea, coming off the bench for the final few moments. Due to an injury to Phil Jagielka, Stones made his first Everton start against Stoke City and he kept his place thanks to a number of impressive performances. In his first full season with Everton, Stones made a total of 21 Premier League appearances and was rewarded with an England call-up for the friendlies against Peru, Ecuador and Norway where he won his first three caps.
A few seasons ago, Stones was trying to break into the Barnsley side. Now he’s a first team regular for Everton in the Premier League. So far this season he has missed only two Premier League fixtures in a struggling Everton side. He has had a few outstanding performances, too, notably against Liverpool and West Brom.
Stones was rewarded with another international call-up last week as he looked to cement his place in the England line-up. But he picked up a bad ankle injury in the defeat to Manchester United and was forced to withdraw.
One thing is for sure is when he’s fit again, he will return to the squad without having to battle for his place in the starting XI again. He is growing as a player very rapidly by getting regular game time in the Premier League and playing alongside the experience of Tim Howard, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka.
He’s working under a creative young manager in Roberto Martinez and the 41-year-old Spaniard has tipped Stones to be a future captain.
“He is a leader. He is born with that quality. He has real high standards in everything he does and for a young man he has always got the right approach on a daily basis,” said Martinez.
“In my eyes he is a potential captain and leader, someone very close to Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry.
Positive comments from the Everton boss and it’s fantastic to see Stones being rated so highly and getting game-time at the top level. It’s relatively easy for managers to give game-time to attacking youngsters because mistakes aren’t always so costly with them. But to give a young defender regular Premier League football? Martinez is helping Stones grow rapidly and he can definitely become Everton’s future captain.
I’d go one step further and claim that the 20-year-old can be the captain of England in the future. There’s a collection of young Englishmen who are experiencing regular football in the Premier League and those players are the next generation of the national side. It’s great to see the likes Tyler Blackett and Raheem Sterling, along with Stones, getting regular football, and the next generation will need a captain. John Stones fits the bill – he’ll only improve and he’s learning from some highly experienced players.
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