Spotlight on Stones after Everton defeat

Published 01/24/2016, 12:24 PM EST
Football Soccer – Everton v Swansea City – Barclays Premier League – Goodison Park – 24/1/16 Everton’s John Stones Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic


LONDON (Reuters) – It was one of those days for young England defender John Stones as his Everton side lost to Swansea City on Sunday for the first time in 22 league meetings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

What worries his many admirers is that there are too many such days for the 21-year-old because of his habit of playing his way out of trouble rather than hoofing the ball clear.

Just such a moment cost Everton heavily against Swansea when he attempted a dummy and then left his backpass short of goalkeeper Tim Howard, who conceded a penalty by bringing down striker Andre Ayew.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from the spot-kick and soon after Everton’s equaliser Stones deflected in Ayew’s shot for what turned out to be the winning goal for a side now 15th in the Premier League.

A day earlier the former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher had talked in his newspaper column about Stones, who was linked with Chelsea in the close-season, having the potential to play for clubs like Real Madrid or Barcelona.

He had warned, however, that the defender needed to tighten up his game and concentrate on keeping clean sheets.

On Sunday Carragher was in the Sky Sports television studio, accusing Stones of being “cocky” in attempting a feint before his pass towards the goalkeeper.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Graeme Souness, also covering the match for Sky, made unfavourable comparisons with his former Liverpool team-mate Alan Hansen, who he said made similar mistakes early in his career but “by the time he was 21 was happy to put it in row Z” when necessary.

Former Manchester United and England centre-half Rio Ferdinand was more supportive, however, tweeting: “Makes me even more grateful that I was brought up at West Ham, where the fans & staff allowed for me to make mistakes while learning the game”.

England manager Roy Hodgson, who has given Stones seven full England caps, and Everton’s Roberto Martinez have to hope there will not be too many more of them before their centre-half achieves his full potential.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

(Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Alan Baldwin)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Dhruv George

11625 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT