Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has been singing the praises of Everton defender John Stones on Sky Sports.
Stones is considered as one of the best young defenders in the Premier League and has already played four times for the England national team.
A ball-playing central defender, the 20-year-old can also feature at right-back and has played in 12 Premier League games for Everton so far this season.
One of the features of the youngster’s game is being comfortable on the ball, but he recently made the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Against BSC Young Boys in the Europa League round-of-32 first-leg tie away from home last week, Stones was sent off for bringing down Guillaume Hoarau inside the Everton penalty box.
The Englishman was dispossessed by Hoarau and failed to get the ball back legitimately, but former Arsenal striker Henry believes that Stones should be encouraged to play with the ball even inside his own penalty box.
“I love the fact that (Stones) is composed on the ball and he isn’t scared,” the former France international told Sky Sports.
“Yes, he made a mistake the other day, but I really don’t mind my centre-backs to be on the ball and try to bring it out.”
Should defenders be encouraged to run with the ball?
It is quite common for defenders in the Premier League to hoof the ball out of their own penalty areas.
Perhaps that is because the defenders are not really comfortable on the ball, unlike those in La Liga or the Bundesliga.
While the importance of clearing the ball from the penalty box cannot be stressed enough, defenders should be encouraged to start attacks from the back and play the ball intelligently.