Martinez effusive over Stones's future

, 6 March, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent

Roberto Martinez has been singing the praises of John Stones as he considers the young defender for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Arsenal in Phil Jagielka's expected absence through injury.

The Spaniard reiterated in his pre-match press conference today that his Captain is "very unlikely" to be fit enough to play in the quarter-final match-up which will again leave an opening in the line-up next to Sylvain Distin in the heart of the Blues' defence.

Stones made his fifth Premier League start of the season against West Ham last weekend and, along with Antolin Alcaraz, is in contention for the all-important trip to the Emirates. His manager feels the 19-year-old will up to the task if selected, saying that Stones is "as good as it gets at his age."

Martinez told evertontv: I know how good he is and what a special footballer he is. He is going to have an incredible career.

He is one of the most significant young players we have in the English game and I have seen him grow a lot in the last few months. He is someone who takes aspects of the game on board very quickly.

He is a complete centre-half and in the modern game you need to be able to play from the back and have good distribution. John has that.

"On top of that, he is good in the air, very comfortable in one-v-one situations and he can defend within a unit. He is as good as it gets at his age.

After giving supporters a glimpse of his confidence with his audacious penalty against Juventus in the International Champions Cup last summer, Stones has shown remarkably maturity and composure in the games in which he has played so far this season.

John...has had two of the toughest tests you can have in the Barclays Premier League, playing against a striker like Andy Carroll, with his physicality and power in the air, and playing at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke," Martinez continued.

Both challenges were answered with two outstanding performances and John has been working really well. That's what's important."


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