There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the young home-grown talent rising through the Premier League and into the England squad.
From the PFA’s Young Player of the Year Harry Kane to Liverpool striker Raheem Sterling, England fans have started to get excited about what the future of England’s international team may hold. But there is one youngster who has been steadily improving but is not getting the recognition he so deserves.
David Moyes signed John Stones for Everton from Barnsley in January 2013. The 20-year-old did not play a single minute of first-team football under him but since Roberto Martinez took over the Toffees, his progression has been staggering.
In Everton’s recent Premier League win over Manchester United, Stones was the standout player and it is believed he is now worth over £17million more than when he first joined Goodison Park. He put in one of the most complete defensive displays he has produced, keeping Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini in check as he got his seventh clean sheet of the season.
Whilst he is quietly getting on with his job and staying out of the main media attention, the centre back is quickly turning into a great England player of the future. Whether loved or not, John Terry has been a superb defender for England, but as he comes to the end of his career it is going to take a lot to fill his boots.
Stones is quick, strong, reliable and is not afraid to put in a decent tackle. He is already well on his way to becoming the perfect, modern centre-back.
All the gossip and excitement this season has been centred around the new found talent of Harry Kane at Tottenham and while the 21-year-old has had a season to remember at White Heart Lane, England’s defence is in desperate need of an up and coming star.
When you compare the statistics from this season between the two young players, Stones has a better pass success rate percentage for this season by 16.8% (Stones 89.9% and Kane 73.1%). England’s defence has been lacking since John Terry was partnered with Ashley Cole out to the side and Stones is the perfect player to learn from Terry and take over his role.
As well as his superb pass rate Stones has won 67% of his tackles and 63% of his headers ranking him alongside the Premier League’s best and most experienced central defenders. He so far has four England caps but there is no doubt he will be a star of the future.
Many believe it will work in Stones’ favour, Leighton Baines said: “His composure for a lad of his age is unbelievable. He is a down-to-earth kid that just wants to play football, work hard, he doesn’t get involved in anything else.”
So whilst everyone else in the footballing world gets excited about Harry Kane, Everton fans can sit back and enjoy the talent that is slowly unfolding before their eyes at Goodison Park.
Stones is the star to look for in the future, not Kane.