Neville hits out at 'scandalous' criticism of Stones

, 5 June, 104comments  |  Jump to most recent

Former Everton and England fullback Phil Neville has come to the defence of John Stones as the debate grows over which central defensive pairing Roy Hodgson should select at Euro2016.

Hodgson has shown a preference thus far for playing Manchester United's Chris Smalling alongside Chelsea's Gary Cahill but some observers aren't sold on it being a dependable partnership.

England are taking just three centre-halves to France for this month's tournament — Stones's Goodison team-mate Phil Jagielka was overlooked after being a first-choice starter at the 2014 World Cup — but Neville, who recently described the ex-Barnsley man as "a Man United-type player", fears the scrutiny and criticism of Everton's 22-year-old defender during a difficult season with the Blues risks destroying his confidence.

"He has been heavily criticised and a lot of it has been absolutely scandalous and personal," the former Everton captain says with some forthright comments in the Sunday People. "It's as if we are trying to destroy the kid."

"He's been criticised for overplaying, but that's rubbish. For me, if he stops taking the ball, that's when I would be criticising John Stones.

"Some of the criticism he's had has been scandalous from ex-players, who didn't have half the ability he had. I'm talking about players that couldn't pass the ball or control it in tight spots where you have to have composure.

"They say you should defend, first and foremost. But Stones can defend and he can also play football. This kid is going to go right to the very top and instead of ­killing him we need to back him."

England easily topped their qualifying group but are fourth favourites for Euro2016 outside hosts France, World champions, Germany and holders Spain. You can look where to find the best live football betting odds in UK if you fancy having a flutter on the Three Lions' chances during the tournament.

Neville's ex-Old Trafford club-mate Rio Ferdinand, a player to whom Stones is often favourably compared, agrees, saying that he should be a fixture in the starting XI for his country so that he can gain the experience needed to become an England great.

"Stones has made mistakes and he has been hammered for them," Ferdinand says. "But does that mean he does not have the potential to be a world class centre-half? No. It just meant he has to learn.

"Someone with promise, who could go on and be a world beater - let him go on and develop the experience he needs.

"I found it took me 10 or 15 games to really feel comfortable in an England shirt and England dressing room."


Reader Comments (104)

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Jim Bailey
1 Posted 05/06/2016 at 17:21:01
Park End hands gesture, unbelievable arrogance or unbelievable confidence. Either way he needs reigning in. At the moment he isn't the finished artricle, but he could be, hopefully with us.
Colin Glassar
2 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:03:06
Seems that a lot of pros, and people in the game, recognise his talents but some Evertonians don't and can only see a fat cheque in front of them.

Stones can go wherever he wants to and walk into any team in the world that values talent. I hope our new manager can convince him to stay but if he goes, I look forward to watching him develop into a superstar.

As for Pip. Is he defending him cos "he's a Manchester United player" or because he really rates him so highly?

Charles Barrow
3 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:09:54
I have always believed Stones will be one of the best centre-halfs we've ever had - best since Labone. I think its a tragedy the way people are on his case - don't they see the brilliance he displays? Yes, he has made mistakes - but I'm convinced under a new manager at Everton they will be a very rare occurrence in the future.

The really sad thing is I doubt we'll see him mature at Everton. If he stays lets give him 100% backing.

Steve Hogan
4 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:13:36
The same idiots who hammer Barkley when his form dips,'fat, lazy, can't tackle, bad attitude.

Martinez overplayed him last season, think he played in most if not all the 38 league games, when it was obvious he needed 'taking out the firing line'.

Our own fans can be truly vitriolic at times.

Helen Mallon
5 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:26:37
Steve Hogan. Let's get it straight. Ross was given loads of credit by the fans at the beginning of the season because he was scoring and playing well.

At the end, he was rightly getting stick because he was lazy and was not tracking back and he is unfit. The lad can't run 50 yards without being knackered. Don't come on here slagging fans off for telling it how it is – we have a right.

Paul Andrews
6 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:28:32
Bailly, the lad at Villarreal available for £20 million. A proper centre-half. Him and £15-20 million if we sell Stones would be great business.
Richard Reeves
7 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:30:06
"Some of the criticism he's had has been scandalous from ex-players who didn't have half the ability he had. I'm talking about players that couldn't pass the ball or control it in tight spots where you have to have composure."

Hmmm... Is this an admission of guilt?

Admittedly I think he is right to an extent but Phill Neville was always talking up Man Utd when he was captain of Everton and I'm sure he'd do everything he could to hint at a better future at the club he loves.

Nick Entwistle
8 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:34:39
He's another player plonked into the England set up too young and what he delivers is far less than what he should hopefully become.

So much misplaced kudos is given to having youth and potential in all sports that everyone gets very smug about it and place it above class and experience. Stones over Jags? Laughable.

Andy Meighan
9 Posted 05/06/2016 at 18:46:51
Helen got it spot on. If a player is playing well, we're the first to laud him as we were up until Christmas. As it was, he was awful from there on and didn't even look fit in some games. And that's criminal in my view.

From where I sit, I've never personally heard anyone calling Barkley because he's rated so highly and we do expect great things from him. Unfortunately, he hasn't delivered and even seems lucky to have gone to the Euros given his dip in form.

As for Neville saying Stones is a Man Utd-type player, what exactly is that? They've been shite for three seasons. He's another one who's had an indifferent season – moments of brilliance coupled with moments of madness defending. If he goes, so be it – he can be replaced

Steve Guy
10 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:17:42
Determined to get him to Man Utd.
Peter Gorman
11 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:18:54
One of the 'best centre-halves' since Labone!? Good grief, not fit to be uttered in the same sentence.

A defender who isn't that great at defending but maybe one day will be. And any fan who points this out is an idiot?

This is why we and England fail; the players feel like they've made it without achieving a thing (and at their wage, I suppose they have) but don't expect the fans to indulge them.

Steve Hogan
12 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:39:08
Helen (#5), I can't see where I actually slagged any fans off, having been a season ticket holder for many many years, I stand by what I said: 'Our fans can be VERY vitriolic'.

At the same time, I have heard some outrageous acts of racism as well over the years, are you going to deny that as well?

While I'm at it, can you tell me what exactly constitutes a player being 'lazy' in your eyes, obviously a fitness and nutrition expert.

Peter Gorman
13 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:44:01
Must have missed the word 'idiot' then, Steve, look again.
Anthony Dwyer
14 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:54:49
I've always been a big believer in keeping our best players at the club, hence the fact I've always been all for Stones remaining blue.

As for Phil talking about him again, I wish the soft twat would shut up. It was only a fortnight ago he was saying that when he seen Stones for the first time he instantly seen him as a Man Utd player.

How disrespectful of an ex Everton captain.

Phil went down in my estimations that day!

Tony Draper
15 Posted 05/06/2016 at 19:55:46
I think that (recently unemployed) Ex-Coach Ex-Cpt Pip may be looking to lick some Portuguese arse, don't you boys n girls ?
Paul Kossoff
17 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:06:50
Steve 4, We as fans have a right, and I mean a right, to criticise players who are not giving 100%, If bloody Kenwright had the same attitude as the so called 'idiots', you are calling fellow Evertonians for not putting up with half arsed displays , we would have had a new manager in over a year ago.

I am fed up as other posters are, with being labeled moaners for voicing an opinion on what is 'the last time I looked,' a fan site for um posting opinions.

Well said Helen.

Garry Corgan
18 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:08:27
I've never criticised Stones for overplaying. I've criticised him for defensive mistakes. Is that scandalous? Stones won't become a better player if all and sundry just tell him he's great.

As for Stones going to the Euros over Jagielka ... Poor. Jagielka is by far the better, more consistent, defender at the moment.

Mark Ryan
19 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:13:46
Just seen Neville try to tackle Nicky Byrne of Westlife in the Socceraid match currently on ITV and he missed the tackle, instead upending Byrne. So reminiscent of his days at Goodison... complete shite. I don't care what he says about Stones, he's a prick. As for Stones, I want him to stay and be the best in the land.
Paul Kossoff
20 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:18:00
I personally do object to people being called 'idiots' for voicing an opinion, Helen is right in saying we do have a right to criticise those players or managers who are only at Everton because of us, the fans.
Jay Griffiths
21 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:21:01
Stones can be moulded into the "real deal". I so hope we get the opportunity to complete the job.

As for the lambasting of fans opinions, my son and I follow every game home and away and as much as we long for Ross to come good, this season, since the Carlise cup game, he has shown little effort, fight or determination. I can't buy into the 'overplayed 'view either. Barry is 37 yet covers so much more ground and battles competitively to boot.

I suppose the trouble is we voice our contempt at the game thus damaging the players who have a delicate nature.

Paul Hewitt
22 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:28:23
Maybe if Stones didn't think he was the world's best CB, and just cleared the ball. He wouldn't get so much stick.
Martin Mason
23 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:42:12
External slagging I can take but from Everton fans it is beyond excuse. He's a very talented young man that has had the misfortune to be in an unstable Everton side this year. With our support, he is going to the very top and hopefully as an Everton player and in the same side as Lukaku.

We're out of the Moyes era, Coco the clown has gone, the sky is the limit for Everton now but it is up to us fans, yes even TW's, to stop moaning and get behind the team and the club management. We don't know better than them and we need to accept that.

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 05/06/2016 at 20:56:32
Martin, I like you think John Stones is going to be a terrific player but I wouldn't argue over him, he will be some other clubs future great player (or problem) come next season; I will be amazed if he is still with Everton.
Paul Kossoff
25 Posted 05/06/2016 at 21:13:40
Martin 23, 'External slagging I can take but from Everton fans it is beyond excuse.' Oh another apologist who in his 'own criticism of Everton fans,' won't allow anyone else to 'criticise' our own team.

Well, I will continue to criticise when it's warranted. Also Stones shouldn't be in the Euro squad ahead of Jagielka, and Barkley on this season's form and fitness levels shouldn't be in it either.

Colin Glassar
26 Posted 05/06/2016 at 21:20:06
Anthony, as far as I'm concerned my estimation of Pip Neville is lower than a flea on a rat's udder.
Chris Owens
27 Posted 05/06/2016 at 21:24:18
When an 18-year-old makes a mistake, it's understandable and, to some extent, expected. When a 22-year-old international defender makes elementary mistakes again and again, at what point does it become unacceptable?

The problem was that we had a manager who encouraged him to make mistakes, not to rectify them. Once we get a manager who understands that defending is a noble art too, he will get the right coaching and go on to become a much better player.

Denis Richardson
28 Posted 05/06/2016 at 21:56:16
Have read all the above posts and not a single one mentions the fact that Stones put in a transfer request just 10 months ago, yet a lot of people are praying he stays.

All I ever read about him is potential this and potential that but see mistakes made on a regular basis. I'm not expecting any player to be perfect but the hype around Stones is ridiculous imo. He may be able to pass a ball but he simply is not that great a defender – which supposedly is his position.

Lukaku gets murdered on these pages (rightly) for constantly going on about wanting to go to a bigger / Champions League club yet many would cry in a dark corner if Stones left, even though he put in a transfer request.

Personally I hope we sell both and the new manager brings in two decent hungry replacements who want to play for Everton.

As for Phillip 'diagonal floater' Neville, the less said the better.

Nick Entwistle
29 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:11:00
You might think Moyes was coco the clown Martin, but it was Martinez who didn't get any progress out of Stones since his debut.

Moyes put Baines, Lescott and Jags in the England team, Coleman in the Irish, and none of that was based on some notion of potential.

Koeman though has to be good for Stones.

Darren Hind
30 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:28:07
I prefer a big no nonsense "stopper" myself

Someone who can really put their foot through it and charge up to the half way line . . fuck all this taking it off the goalie lark. Turn your back on him and make him hoof it over your head

And most of all "defend properly" . . . Getridofthefuckinthing

Helen Mallon
31 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:31:12
Steve Hogan, these are your words: "The same idiots who hammer Barkley when his form dips,fat, lazy, can't tackle, bad attitude."

That to me is slagging off fans who think he has been all of the above this season – and big deal if you have had a season ticket. I am not blind to what goes on at games either so don't pull the race card.

Oh and yes, I can constitute what a lazy player is – Lukaku.

Paul Andrews
32 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:34:42
My own preference for a defender is not one who hoofs it, just one who stops goals being conceded.

Simple this coaching lark eh?

Gavin McGarvey
33 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:34:49
I don't want a defender who just belts it out. Stones has class and if we can develop him as a footballer it will give us another dimension. Stoke defend robustly and there's nothing wrong with that, but Barcelona don't leak 3 goals a game and they defend differently.

Keeping Stones and Lukaku will be good for our club, so I personally don't see why our new chairman would let them go.

Ed Fitzgerald
34 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:38:37

I see your never ending love for Moyes burns as brightly as ever! If you read Martin's post carefully, I think you will find its was Señor Martinez he was referring to as Coco the Clown, not dour Dave!

However, to claim Stones made more progress under Moyes is a bit of a laugh as he didn't really get any game time until Martinez arrived. You must be a little tearful with the realisation that it's not going to be Moyes in charge next season...

Brent Stephens
35 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:38:52
"Maybe if Stones didn't think he was the world's best CB, and just cleared the ball. He wouldn't get so much stick."

Where did Stones say that?

Andy Crooks
36 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:39:40
I think Stones is already good. I think he will be great. The new ambitious Everton must keep him.
Ian Smitham
37 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:43:38
Paul Hewitt #22, Brent #35 raises a point, will be interested as to how you reply.
Ste Traverse
38 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:45:57
When Neville talks about 'ex-players' being critical of Stones, I assume he means Carragher, who really went for Stones a few times last season, particulary after his Cruyff turns against Tottenham.

Neville is a gobshite. Many of us agreed with Carragher.

Dan Davies
39 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:55:06
If Stones gets schooled in DEFENCE by a manager who knows his stuff and starts keeping clean sheets collectively as a unit with the other defenders, the boy will be the real deal.

As a defender he's got everything he needs going forward and with the ball at his feet. He needs a manager to toughen him up defensively.

I'm not saying that is all he should focus on but he has natural ability that will shine through whatever. Koeman if he comes could be the making of the boy. IF he stays!

Raymond Fox
40 Posted 05/06/2016 at 22:57:56
Stones, Barkley, key in Rashford – players are lorded much too soon in their careers for their own good. Watch Rashford take a nosedive in adulation before long.

The true greats always look great.

Nick Entwistle
41 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:08:08
Ed, if you read my post carefully I think you'll find I made no assertion to Moyes' influence on Stones - given his debut was under Martinez and all.

And you'd only know if Martin was referring to Martinez as Coco the Clown if you knew that's what he called him so... so obviously you're very close with Martin and have your own love affair. David is all mine!

Danny O'Neill
42 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:20:16
Lazy and unfit. How about young and still developing?

As a central defender, you will not consistently see the best out of Stones until he his 28 (ish). He's 21 and we slate him if he doesn't perform with the consistency of an experienced professional all of the time. Likewise Ross; albeit you would expect a midfielder to mature earlier than a defender, although probably not until his mid-20s. Those who know the game will understand that.

Personally, I don't have issue and don't think it's anything to do with attitude, fitness or desire, it's just they don't yet have the experience or maturity to manage their game and perform to the best of their ability on a consistent basis; it will come be it for us or someone else as both are quality players.

And with specific regards to Ross, I will echo my previous sentiment; players like him only need to turn it on occasionally to turn a game. A tired example, but I spent as much time calling Kevin Sheedy a lazy shit as I did adoring his magic!! He never tracked back by the way but he won us games.

Carl Sanderson
43 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:20:37
Neville... Pallister... Ferdinand... Mourinho. It appears to be a calculated and coordinated campaign designed to move Stones to Manchester United. Familiar tactics, which worked in Rooney's case and will work again.
Phil Bellis
44 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:27:13
John Stones, Everton Football Club..."Bobby Moore with pace" (said to me by a former W Ham and England captain)
Steve Hogan
45 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:28:18
Danny O'neil (42) nail on the head, and put more eloquently than I could ever aspire to.
Steve Hogan
46 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:37:48
Helen, So Lukaku is 'lazy' as well, anyone else in the team you would like to label? Would that be the same Lukaku who scored another goal for his country tonight.

Be interesting to see how many 'stupid' clubs are interested in our young 'lazy' players if they become available for transfer eh.

Perhaps you could put them right though, after all, you seem to have made your mind up pretty conclusively.

John Daley
47 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:41:19
"Stones over Jags? Laughable."

The resulting laughter ripple would be on par with that caused by Tommy Cannon turning up, sans Ball, and 'treating' you to a bit of impromptu stand-up in your living room.

Take a straw poll of every manager, of every club, in every top league in Europe and how many do you think would opt for taking Jagielka instead of Stones in a 'you can sign one now for nowt' contest?

Danny O'Neill
48 Posted 05/06/2016 at 23:55:35
Exactly Steve; Lukaku can be as lazy as he wants. He's paid to score goals, which he does. Who cares if he doesn't run the channels Marcus Bent like!
John Pierce
49 Posted 05/06/2016 at 00:06:56
Danny #42, the point is well made but to mind stretches things a bit. Whilst the game winning ability of RB is there, as is RLs goalscoring prowess it might be worth considering that unlike Sheedy's Everton, at this current time we cannot afford a player let alone two who for their time at the club tend to go missing alot more than most.

For the match winning stuff to shine through we have give them the ball, neither are not always to be blame.

Sheedy was for the most part in a side that won alot of games, and a different era. Both players get stick simply for a perceived laziness I grant, but still without the ball, like Sheedy it can feel like playing with nine men

To this tie this back to Stones, a third player rightly feted as a talented propsect who has had the best part of three seasons in a demanding league to adapt, responsibility does lie with JS to improve himself regardless of the manager. Even when things were going well under Martinez none the of the players were exempt from the failings others on the thread have pointed out.

So sure they deserve the stick they get, I would just like to see them take responsibility as individuals to change, adapt and improve regardless of the teams position. Perhaps thats were the real criticsim lies, I do wonder if any of the three players mentioned are mentally tough enough irrespective of their talent?

Good debate though!

Danny O'Neill
50 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:17:27
It is good debate John and always should be. I just fear we put too much on them at too young an age. Like I say, a central defender will generally not show his best until he is in the 28 - 32 age bracket. John Stones still has a way to go and I think we as a fan base are overly critical. The lad is clearly going to be an extremely good defender. He's not there yet but he will be. Likewise, Ross will mature into an outstanding midfielder. I just hope its with us.
Ed Fitzgerald
51 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:31:06

As per usual your response doesn't make a lot of sense. You stated that Moyes was responsible for getting Jagielka, Lescott and Baines playing for England (I'm not sure I'd agree with that, but let's suppose your assertions are right) and yet you claim Stones made no progress under Martinez hasn't Stones been an England regular and didn't we reject a bid of 40 million for him whilst Martinez was manager.

I'm not defending Martinez just pointing out that your logic is contradictory at best, although your defence and support of Moyes over all issues verges on adulation.. Have you a thing for Ginger men Nick it's fine it is the 21st century.

Damian Wilde
52 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:41:46
Does everybody really dislike Neville? What an irritating prick.
Colin Gee
53 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:50:25
I want a defender who can hoof it into Row Z when needed, I also want the same defender to be able to play the ball out of defence and take it 40 yards up the pitch when needed. John Stones at the moment seem to be the opposite of this. He tries to take it 40 yards up the pitch when he should hoof it into Row Z...

Koeman was an excellent defender, if he can get John Stones back into the player he should be progressing into having been ruined by Martinez then all well and good.

Andrew Keatley
54 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:50:30
Central defence is a difficult position. Very few young players make the sort of impact and attract the sort of admiring glances that John Stones has. He turned 22 about a week ago. He's going to be extremely good - possibly among the very best. It seems like most clubs want him. I hope he stays at Everton.
John Pierce
55 Posted 06/06/2016 at 00:58:35
So Danny perhaps twisting the arguement slightly, I would perhaps suggest having all three in the side was and is counterproductive. If they are not quite were we think they should be as players, simply we can't carry all three. With this in mind I'd probably pass on Stones and take the money.

With him in the side and when he struggles, naturally it excerbates, ney elminates RB & RL from the game, because we're defending more, something even the advocates of Ross & Rom like yourself know we've not seen enough of.

What I do want is both Rom & Ross regardless of 'what' stage of their development to realise when on the pitch its not going for them they try to influence the game in some other way, I don't see that from either and thats on them whether they're 18,21 or 32. I cite Rooney there!

And the very best, which maybe Stones & Ross can be, don't stint on otherwise they are one dimensional players are they not?

Time will tell, but of the three Stones will be one who has all the medals, Rom a nomad who scores goals and will become a pan European mercenary. Ross, this lad could go either way, despite his tender years I think if the penny doesn't drop soon it he will fade from view. He as the touch of the Rodwells about him...harsh I know

Ernie Baywood
56 Posted 06/06/2016 at 01:01:33
I still don't understand why Barkley is slated for being unfit and lazy.

Surely the reason he's not hurtling around the pitch is one or the other and not both?

If he's unfit, that's clearly not his doing. Do you think he's skipping training sessions to sit at home and eat Mars bars?

Christine Foster
57 Posted 06/06/2016 at 01:50:29
John Stones, potentially brilliant, currently badly coached. Result? He lacks confidence and guidance as a result of being "Martinezed"

Ross Barkley, lost his way, no guidance, poor coaching, doing what he has been told to do by a deluded coach, well and truly "Martinezed"

Rom Lukaku, arrogant young man who believes his own hype. Has much to learn, knows where the net is, has benefited from one on one coaching from Duncan Ferguson but has decided he knows better than anyone else where he should play, how he should play and how good he is. Unfinished article.

Kevin Mirallas, a good player but surely pissed off Martinez, surprised he is still at the club but glad he is. Another well and truly "Martinezed"

There have been others but this is where we are at the moment.

I can't say I would be happy to lose any of the above players if I am honest. They ALL have the necessary skills to improve our team. The key to them staying is the new manager, the reason they wanted to go was the old one.

Karl Meighan
58 Posted 06/06/2016 at 01:58:52
Must say I think this stuff about experience is mainly rubish, there either top quality players or there not, as for he was overplayed last season Stones, nonesense Leicster skipper Morgan did he miss a minute in the Premier League and in my opinion had twice the season Stones had.

Barkley has some quality but its very doubtfull he will ever be the player we all hoped as football brains cannot be learnt and if he don't know when to release the ball now he never will. Just my two pence worth and I'm wrong.

Derek Thomas
59 Posted 06/06/2016 at 02:12:04
Danny @ 42; Total rubbish; all those with eyes to see, can spot Ross is over bulked and under fit, both physically and mentally. The physical you can fix, the mental aspect - is it can't run or won't run... or told not to bother.

As for Sheedy not tracking back, take a look at Bayern's 1st (only) goal and tell me who is sliding in on the goal line trying to keep it out...I'm sure it wouldn't have been a one off. In 'proper teams' - teams that win stuff, everybody defends to some degree...unlike last season... even going back to Charlton, Law and Young, in proper teams even 'fancy dans' defend.

Saegaran Kana
60 Posted 06/06/2016 at 03:48:02
IMO it was RM and his bad defending tactics which cost Stones his confidence. Stones is a cool customer on the ball but his decisions turned bad in the last season. I can only blame the gaffer.
Julian Wait
61 Posted 06/06/2016 at 04:17:12
Neville is clearly shilling for Man Utd and a return to favour at Old Trafford. Lesson learned for us I hope. Let's leave this alone, and not think about taking Man Utd cast offs again in the future.
Alan J Thompson
62 Posted 06/06/2016 at 05:02:56
Neville and Ferdinand are being somewhat selective. There is no mention of the back pass that led to Howard giving away a penalty against Swansea, similarly to Robles that gave away a corner that led to a goal v.Watford and he did something similar playing for England. Then there's getting into positions in the 6 yard box to cut out crosses but not doing it. It must also be said that there is a very,very good player in there. These faults could and should be fairly easily remedied by any decent coach/manager.

It does strike me as no coincidence that two former players of the same club which is now managed by someone who tried to sign Stones last season seem to be saying that he would be better off and more highly regarded at another club.

If there is an upside it is that it may lead to a bidding war between the Manchester clubs but before there can be an auction there has to be a seller. Let's hope our new manager is not.

Darren Hind
63 Posted 06/06/2016 at 06:49:05
My own preference for a defender is not one who hoofs it, just one who stops goals being conceded.

"Simple this coaching lark"

Except no coach has produced such a defender in this country for decades . . Certainly not the coach you adored and backed for for three seasons . . .

Still at least your maths stands up - buy a top class player for 20m and sell the shite one for 40

Genius . . why didnt anyone else think of that ?

Helen Mallon
64 Posted 06/06/2016 at 07:16:52
Tell you what Steve hogan lukaku is lazy he is playing now for a move. Pity he couldn't do that in the semi or the Derby. But we will see where the two of them lukaku and stones end up at the end of the season. One in Europe the other in Manchester where they have wanted to be all last season.
Danny O'Neill
65 Posted 06/06/2016 at 07:35:44
Thanks for the constructive feedback Derek!!

One example in how many years? I like many can make history and statistics fit my argument. For the record, I idolised Kevin Sheedy, I was just drawing out a general observation (not specific example) of how gifted players aren't always the ones who will "put a shift in".

Lets agree to have a different opinion. Lazy / unfit / over-bulked / still developing, whatever you want to call it. I think Ross Barkley has potential and will come good. Likewise Stones; different criticism of him, but will develop into a top defender. They just aren't there yet and possibly / probably won't be for a while yet.

As to the criticism of Lukaku on here, I don't disagree with much of it. Arrogance, selfishness.....erm he's a striker!!

Paul Tran
66 Posted 06/06/2016 at 07:56:51
Stones, like many players criticised on here and elsewhere, will improve for working under a manager who keeps them fit and clearly communicates what he wants them to do.

Sean Kelly
67 Posted 06/06/2016 at 08:18:44
What's wrong with Stones is the Martinez influence. Martinez hadn't a clue about setting up defences. Week after week, he buggered up Stones, Lukaku and Barkley and they believed him. If you don't put in proper foundations, your house will fall down.

Koeman, if he comes, will straighten a few of them out but not Lukaku – he's a mercenary.

Raymond Fox
68 Posted 06/06/2016 at 09:00:13
Why all the praise and excuses for Stones, the guy wanted to leave at Christmas, he will still want to leave wont he? He was worth more at Christmas that's for sure.
We don't want players that don't want to be at Everton.

As for its all Martinez fault that Stones started making mistakes, he played good most of the time earlier in the season didn't he, that's when he gained his reputation, same with Barkley he played well enough earlier in the season under the same manager.

Colin Glassar
69 Posted 06/06/2016 at 09:17:40
Raymond, where did you see JS asking to leave at Xmas? I remember last summer but I can't find anything to suggest that he asked for a winter move.

Denis Richardson
70 Posted 06/06/2016 at 09:47:27
Ray 68, completely agree with you although he put his transfer request in in August.

Everyone seems to just ignore the fact the guy wants out and I believe is a Man Utd fan anyway.

Regardless of potential I think we can all agree that he is not the finished article now. Question is do you take £40m and buy a couple of players who are or 'nuture' Stones along with his regular mistakes for another 2-3 years in the hope (by no means certainty) he'll come good?

Personally I'd take the former every time, especially as he wants out anyway. Had he come through the academy and was a fan id be willing to cut him some slack. We also have the small thing of a new stadium to finance so we don't have the luxury of sitting on £40m hoping it may come good in the distant future.

Let him bugger off to Manchester, he'll be easily replaced by someone who can defend properly now.

John Daley
71 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:03:14
Stones absolutely went about things in the right way, in the right order. Actual bids came in for him, the club turned them down, he expressed his wish to leave (in private, not publicly to the press or via a mouth piece), the club said no, he put a transfer request in through official channels as a last resort, the club still said no, he then got on with his job and hasn't uttered a word about it since nor got a cob on to try and force the clubs hand.

I'd much rather that than someone who has not yet even been the subject of a single bid mouthing off multiple times about a yet to materialise move, making statements about which clubs he would consider a fitting stage for him to strut his stuff and generally speaking like Everton are an utter irrelevance with no input whatsoever on whether a transfer eventually takes place.

Derek Thomas
72 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:10:36
No problem Danny; glad we agree.
Tom Evans
73 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:11:55
I see Shearer has paid little heed to Pips thoughts.
Had a right go at Stones and his two defender colleagues.
Simon Connor
74 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:13:58
Evertonians need to be looking forwards now with our stubborn/inept manager gone. Our new majority shareholder will sort the place out. You don't become a billionaire by being rubbish at business! Let the 'stars' go if they want. They can be replaced.

Look what Kendall did. He just played players in their correct positions, had them hunting in packs at the back and in the middle. Two strikers, not one! Forget the European formations.

4-4-2 is what we need with a manager who can manage. Dead simple. We have the dosh now too so look forwards and get rid of the dead wood. I really believe we will beat the Red Shite twice next season and the Mancs.

Colin Glassar
75 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:24:19
Agree totally John. Stones put in his request, was turned down and got on with it. Did he do a Berahino? A Odemwinge? Did he threaten to go on strike? Did he mouth off to the media etc....... Did he fuck.

Give me one John Stones any day over the likes of Shawcross, Dann, Smalling etc....mistakes and all.

Nick Entwistle
76 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:45:15
Ed, you're three for three for being wrong.

You missed out the line where the logic is qualified and not contradictory. I'm sure you weren't just changing the subject because you were shown up for being wrong. Just do as you asked of me and read carefully.

I can be condescending too, don't you know.

Denis Richardson
77 Posted 06/06/2016 at 10:50:22
So putting in a transfer request is suddenly okay as long as you 'go about it the right way'. That's priceless.

You don't think the club may have told him he's not being sold even IF he puts in a request? He still did in the hope it would get him his wish but it didn't.

Fact is he wanted out, regardless of how it's sugar coated. Also I disagree that he just 'got on with it'. His was crap after that and played poorly for a long time into the season.

Had any other player put in a transfer request, he'd have been lynched but it's okay cos it's Stones, who's apparently destined to be the greatest CB of all time. The Pele of defending....

He'll hopefully be wearing a red jersey in 2 months time and we'll be better for it.

Jim Lloyd
78 Posted 06/06/2016 at 11:17:24
I think these young, talented lads are going to have a manager who will assess what they can do, what he thinks they might develop into; and take it from there.

If Lukaku, does what he keeps saying he wants to do, and leave, then we'll have a lot of money for our manager to decide who to spend it on. If he stays, I'd be extremely surprised but we will have another young player who the manager will expect more from.

I like John Stones, I think he is a great player in the making and I hope we keep him (if we can.) He has made mistakes and he isn't always in the right position when defending corners but I think these weaker points can be vastly improved. I think we have a player very much like a young Alan Hansen and he was probably the best of his generation. Jags has been a decent player but I think now we should be looking for the best partner available for Stonesy (if he stays).

Ross, well I'm not sure about. Undoubtedly a talented lad but in my view he needs to be coached very much on his role in the team. He seemed to have been left to his own devices regarding aspects other than dribbling and passing. But now we will see whether the talent he has, can be developed rather than wasted.

The whole landscape has changed with Farhad Moshiri taking control and if Koeman or similar, comes in. John Stones, Ross Barkley and maybe Rom Lukaku, will get the knowledge and direction from a top manager and top coaches and will also be playing in a team with an increasing number of top class players coming into the team. I hope all three of them want to stay and be part of the beginning of our resurgence.

He perhaps should have kept his gob shut and acted like Stones who showed maturity beyond his years during the possible transfer to Chelsea, but Lukaku has a belief in himself (perhaps an overvalued sense of his greatness as well) but he is a young man and they will be queuing up to get him.

We have 3 very talented young players and it would be a shame to see them go, when we are going to get the best coaching staff and top players available coming into the club.

Steve Bell
79 Posted 06/06/2016 at 11:50:05
It's a tragedy that he's been managed by Martinez for the last three years.
Paul Andrews
80 Posted 06/06/2016 at 12:26:37
To simplify the debate... two questions.

1) What is a defender's priority, what is his main role?

2) Would you select Stones on his defending ability if he could not play football?

In a nutshell, he is not a good defender. He is being selected on potential,"he will learn". He has played for two seasons now. He makes the same mistakes in every game.

Let's make it 3 questions: David Luis cost £50 million. His centre-back partner Thiago Silva £32 million. Which one would you take? You don't need to be a genius to work that one out.

We need a centre-half who stops the ball going between the white posts and into the netting more often than not. You don't need to be a coach to work that out.

Paul Andrews
81 Posted 06/06/2016 at 12:56:44

Looks like the lad I mentioned is going to Utd.

The special one is about to take the cheaper option if the story is correct. Genius.

Jamie Barlow
83 Posted 06/06/2016 at 15:18:08
Darren, I was gonna wait until you posted and agree with pretty much everything you said as I always do when you talk of Stones.

What's post 30 all about? Got to be sarcasm?

Damian Wilde
84 Posted 06/06/2016 at 15:42:33

"I still don't understand why Barkley is slated for being unfit and lazy.

Surely the reason he's not hurtling around the pitch is one or the other and not both?

If he's unfit, that's clearly not his doing. Do you think he's skipping training sessions to sit at home and eat Mars bars?:

So Ernie, you're telling me he's not fit enough to run two-three yards to try to tackle an opposition player? This is lazy. People are also saying hus overall fitness levels are not good enough. Of course it can be both.

You also say being unfit is not his doing? Are you serious? Goidness sake. I was an amateur athlete - I was super fit. He can get himself fit!

Peter Gorman
85 Posted 06/06/2016 at 16:23:18
I was convinced the entire team was unfit for the most part of last season until I saw James McCarthy tearing about like a man possessed for Unsworth on the last day.

So there you have it; they were just lazy.

Alan J Thompson
86 Posted 06/06/2016 at 16:43:16
Did anyone see the speed at which we played the ball out of defence for the last three seasons? That seems to explain the previous manager didn't put any priority on running fast or for long.
Jay Harris
87 Posted 06/06/2016 at 17:39:34
I hate hearing the expression "He is only young and has potential".

FFS Howard Kendall was in a cup final at 17. Joe Royle was playing in the top flight at 16, Rooney was an England regular at 18, Alan Ball was a world cup winner before he was 21.

If the players are still at the "potential" stage they shouldnt be playing international or regular Premier league games.

We need to stop making excuses for players and coach them, properly and have them fit and understanding their roles something MArtinez seemed incapable of doing.

Danny O'Neill
88 Posted 06/06/2016 at 19:09:25
Fair shout Jay, but, they played because they were young and identified as having potential, hence they got picked.

The players you mention probably had their ups and downs / ins and outs too; unusually on this site, I'm in a position to claim I was too young to have seen them play - a generation before me but I'm sure in their younger years they were far from the accomplished professionals they went on to become.

Also, they are all forwards / midfielders, so your point is more valid aimed at Ross, however defenders mature later in life so Stones will remain in the potential bracket for a while yet.

Roger Helm
89 Posted 06/06/2016 at 19:39:05
It seems to me:

1. The CH is the most important position in the team - if you have a good one you are halfway there.

2. If your CH just lumps it out (which they have to do sometimes), you're probably defending again within 15 seconds

3. If your CH can pass it out, you're on the attack.

4. Stones is a baby in CH terms - most don't mature till their late twenties and they go on to mid or late thirties.

5. Our new manager (I assume) was a world class defender, so Stones will presumably get the defensive coaching he never had before.

6. He is under contract to us and isn't going anywhere until Messrs Foeman and Moshiri say he is.

7. How many CHs can you name who can defend and set up attacks? Moore, Beckenbauer, Baresi, Passarella, Kroll, Scirea - of course Stones isn't in that company yet, but one day he may be.

Conclusion - we have an uncut diamond in our wallet and we would be crazy to sell at any price.

Roger Helm
90 Posted 06/06/2016 at 19:42:14
And another thing - I don't agree with the slagging off of Phil Neville. Of course he's a Manc, with his CV, but he did a good job for us when our club was in the shit, and I don't remember anyone questioning his commitment to EFC.
James Stewart
91 Posted 06/06/2016 at 19:57:21
Smalling and Cahill are car crash players and will get found out fast at that level. Dann and Jagielka are probably the best English centre backs at present and neither are even in the squad. Stones should be starting over Cahill.
Sean McCarthy
92 Posted 07/06/2016 at 03:08:52
Roger #89 & on in both posts. The way some on here go on about "so and so is a manc" is pathetic. Neville was never the best player in the team nor did he claim to be but fewer worked harder than him. And for a "manc" I recall him putting the then Utd show pony Ronaldo in his place in a game at goodison in his 1st season with Everton. I actually think he will go on to be a successful coach whether that's at Everton, Utd, or elsewhere remains to be seen. But he's a former captain of our club and I've never heard him say anything other than complimentary things about his time with us and his feelings for the club. Also his best friend is none other than Tim Cahill so I guess some will slag Tim off as some kind of traitor!!!
Some of the posts on here read like they've been written by 9yr olds!!!
Alan J Thompson
93 Posted 07/06/2016 at 05:11:40
Sean(#92); Does the similarity between comments made by two former Man Utd players and the comments by two Chelsea players last season bring to mind a certain manager. Can a leopard change his spots? Well. I suppose when it becomes a jaguar. Still hunts the same way.
Darren Hind
94 Posted 07/06/2016 at 06:34:54
Roger @89

Absolutely spot on. You've got your work cut out trying to convince the members of the flat earth society though

Tony Draper
95 Posted 07/06/2016 at 06:45:16
Roger @89.
Hardly a syllable out of place, excellent post. Thanks.
Mike Green
96 Posted 07/06/2016 at 07:09:49
Ernie #56 and Damian #84 -

"I still don't understand why Barkley is slated for being unfit and lazy.

Surely the reason he's not hurtling around the pitch is one or the other and not both?"

The third explanation is that he simply isn't that switched on. I don't doubt his desire, or the hours he puts in on the training pitch, I just get the impression that he doesn't know how to contribute effectively when he's off the ball. He looks a little bit lost a little bit too often. Either that or he thinks his role is to wait until the ball comes to him and then it's action stations.

Ian Jones
97 Posted 07/06/2016 at 07:55:15
It's probably too easy to sum up why some/all of the players did not play to their ability last year and too easy to blame one person. But I guess they were 'Martinezed' or 'Robertoed'.

No doubt in years to come it will be known as 'The Martinez Effect'.

Comparisons between performances of Alli and Barkley seem valid for many reasons. Main differences last year could be simply down to confidence and the management team. Spurs were flying at one point. Everton were....not.

Whoever the new Management team is, it will be interesting to see, if given the chance, how they will tackle the situation and get the best out of our players.

Colin Glassar
98 Posted 07/06/2016 at 08:48:02
Great post that Roger, absolutely spot on. Unfortunately, some believe Stonesy should've been hung, drawn and quartered for having had the cheek to hand in a transfer request after being seduced by Jose.
Dave Roberts
99 Posted 07/06/2016 at 10:16:31
To be honest I don't think Stones' best position is necessarily at centre-back. I think he has all the attributes of a defensive midfielder to play in front of the back four. I'd love to see him have a go at the McCarthy role.

He could pick the ball up from defence and whatever his youthful shortcomings are we know he can hold and carry the ball and/or pick a pass, he can be very creative. He can pick a forward and accurate pass which McCarthy cannot. Stick a decent, tall, brute of a centre back with the ability to bully strikers but capable of a 10 yard pass alongside Jags and move Stones up to DM. I'm pretty sure it would be the making of him.....and help solve some of our midfield woes.

Danny O'Neill
100 Posted 07/06/2016 at 10:49:04
Dave Roberts: Coincidentally and if I recall correctly, Koeman was an accomplished centre back who was frequently able to step into midfield; a classic ball playing sweeper is probably a better description, which is what I think Stones could be shaped into.

Providing Moshiri gets his man and providing Stones stays, he could have the ultimate mentor to guide him.

Ste Traverse
101 Posted 07/06/2016 at 12:46:14
Sean #92.

That tackle on Ronaldo wasn't in his '1st season' at Goodison, it was during 2008/09 which was Neville's fourth season with us.

One thing that really sticks in my mind about him was when we won that penalty shoot-out against United at Wembley, while us fans and our players were going mental, he at first ignored our celebrations, much prefering to go over the Manc players and commiserate with them.

Darren Hind
103 Posted 07/06/2016 at 19:02:50
Neville was an appalling player. My initial disappointment when we signed him soon turned to horror when I realised just how shite he was

Couldn't pass, couldn't dribble . . . couldn't play.
His performance against Wigan (the one which landed Martinez the gig ) was as rank as I have ever seen at any level. He was THEIR most dangerous player that day

The fact that he's a Manc should count against him. The fact that he was a really crap Manc Does count against him. To think ? Rooney went one way and he came the other ? . . .even now its enough to make you weep

I feel sick when I hear peopl say what a great leader he was. Great leaders win things. They do not cower and wilt like he did at Wembley. A great leader should also be able to boast the occasional win at the homes of the big boys - Neville registered none

A disagreeable little Yes man who completely embraced the TGT'S percentage game. trouble was, It all went downhill for him when somebody gave him the fucking ball . .I cant even think of him without remembering that painfully embarrassing dive against the Shite

Why the fuck are we even debating him ?

Colin Glassar
104 Posted 07/06/2016 at 19:14:41
Spot on Darren, he was embarrassingly bad. Got knows how he got into the Man Utd, England and Everton teams. I think he would've struggled with his boyhood club, Bury FC.
Bob Cumiskey
106 Posted 07/06/2016 at 22:32:58
Apparently, Pep Guardiola's Man City are waiting in the wings with a big offer according to SSN.
They won't make their move until after the euros apparently.
So I guess he may never be a Man Utd player at all in the future.
I like JS but if he wants to go let's get the deal done and move on.
Paul Tran
107 Posted 07/06/2016 at 22:45:27
I remember the Villareal game at Goodison. I could sense the collective despair that this guy we'd brought from Man Utd to be our captain really was nothing more than a solid pro who couldn't change a light bulb, never mind the course of a game.

He even made Simon Davies only look mildly shite. Great summer of transfers that was......

Peter Mills
108 Posted 09/06/2016 at 13:30:31
I would like to see John Stones remain. He has weaknesses, but I suspect they could be ironed out under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman.

There are some players I have just loved watching playing football in an Everton shirt - Colin Harvey, Martin Dobson, Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven spring to mind. They all took stick in their time, but were footballers who played with style - Stones is out of the same mould.

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