Martin Keown on what John Stones needs to do following transfer saga

John Stones

Keown was asked about Stones as part of his Tackle Keown column ahead of Everton's clash with Chelsea this weekend.

Former Arsenal and Everton defender Martin Keown has said in the Daily Mail that the opportunity for John Stones to secure a move away from Everton could come again.

This weekend sees Stones come up against the club that pursued him throughout the summer transfer window when the Toffees take on Chelsea at Goodison Park.

In his Tackle Keown column for the Daily Mail, the ex-player turned pundit said he needs to keep performing if that chance to move to a club at the very highest level is to emerge again in the future. 

He said: "It might have seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but he is well balanced and should know his chance will come again. But it only will if he keeps performing.

"We know there is a real player in there waiting to come out. He still has a lot to work on and can still be a big part of Everton’s season. And he will need that for his confidence. He has to start taking ownership and becoming more of a leader and more dominant in that defence. He needs to do better at set pieces and marking from crosses because sometimes he is too concerned with the man when he needs to focus on the ball.

"But he is better off making those improvements at Everton where he knows he will play. He needs to make sure he keeps a working relationship going with Roberto Martinez and keep on trying to improve."

It is not hard to see why Chelsea were targeting Stones as he has performed impressively at the back for Everton for the past two seasons. His composure, positioning and reading of the game seem to be excellent for a player of his age - and that skill set will only improve in the years to come. 

Keown has highlighted a few areas that he feels Stones needs to work on, but he has age on his side in his quest to become a more rounded defender, as many of the criticisms levelled at him seem to be related to set-piece defending more than anything else.

If Stones does kick on this season, given the way that Chelsea pursued the player, there probably will be questions asked of when the player leaves the club rather than if. But Everton have proved that if they dig their heels in, they can hold on to their best players when they want to - having rejected a transfer request from Stones prior to the deadline, as covered by the Guardian.

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