Everton defender hailed as 'the complete modern centre-half'

Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes John Stones is 'the complete modern centre-half'.

Roberto Martinez has hailed Everton defender John Stones as 'the complete modern centre-half.

Stones is currently enjoying an extended run in the Blues' first-team following injury to Phil Jagielka and has caught the eye with a series of commanding defensive performances.

The 19-year-old arrived at Goodison Park last January from Barnsley but has flourished under Martinez, who failed to land him during his time as Wigan manager, this season - and the Spaniard believes highly-rated Stones has the attributes to make him a model defender.

"The first time I saw John was ready, it was in a friendly with Juventus. He was still a 19-year-old that had very small experience at playing centre-half, but from that point on we've been working very specifically in the concepts of that position," he told his pre-match press conference.

"I think he's been incredible in the manner that he's taken everything on board. I think his performances have been exceptional.

"John Stones, in my eyes, is the complete modern centre-half; someone that can defend in one-v-one situations, that is very good in the air, that can start the play, has got the composure to get on the ball. He's a phenomenal prospect."

Stones delivered a standout performance during Everton's 3-1 win over Fulham last weekend, which was observed by England boss Roy Hodgson, but Martinez has downplayed the prospect of the youngster being called up by his country for this summer's World Cup.

He added: "I think we need to remember that young players with big potential need to be allowed to develop that potential.

"It's fair to say that this season he's played a lot of games - I think he's played already 20 games in different competitions - and for a young man at the age of 19, as a centre-half, which is always harder to break into the first-team at an earlier age, is an incredible achievement.

"But we need to give him a bit of breathing space and allow him to enjoy his football a bit more before we put the pressure of a World Cup call-up."

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