England legend Terry Butcher told talkSPORT that he thinks Everton’s John Stones will be a defender who establishes himself across the England backline in the near future.
Butcher dismissed the idea that there was a lack of centre back talent in the country, using the Everton man as an example of someone who represents the possibility of longevity for his country.
“I think John Stones will graduate [from England’s Under-21s] and play there,” he said.
"I like him, he’s got good ability, he’s quick and he’s sharp, he reads things well. He’s mature beyond his years. He’s one who you would say will assume that role [as a leader]."
Firstly, Stones needs to show incredible consistency in an Everton shirt and he should be confident that he’ll be given chances by Toffees boss Roberto Martinez.
Martinez is the ideal sort of manager, who will be able to guide Stones’ game and improve his quality in terms of the way he passes out from the back when he’s in possession.
Secondly, he’s got to try and find a way to show why he’s a better option in defence than some of the more experienced options in his position.
Gary Cahill and Phil Jones are examples of two players who will be aiming for centre back roles over the next couple of years and he’s got to try and displace someone and turn one of the centre back slots into his own.
Thirdly, he’s got to stay level headed and boast the maturity that Butcher feels he has.
Martinez will give him a great chance of staying grounded, staying mature and staying level headed, which will allow him to approach the challenges of next season and beyond in a calm and composed manner.
Once he’s forced his way into the England starting side, he can then focus on keeping his place for years.