A man with 30 caps to his name talks up the talents of two Everton youngsters to HITC Sport.
Over the course of an illustrious playing career which took him from Nottingham Forest to Middlesbrough via Arsenal, Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley, the cultured defender earned 30 caps for England.
That tally would have been considerably higher had he not found himself competing in an era alongside Liverpool’s Phil Neal and Leeds United’s Trevor Cherry.
He is well placed, though, to discuss the credentials of Three Lions hopefuls looking to make the right-back berth their own.
There are, as there were in the 70s and 80s, plenty of contenders for national team coach Roy Hodgson to consider for that role at present.
Nathaniel Clyne, now of Liverpool, appears to be the favoured choice for the games that really matter, but Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker provides stiff competition and West Ham United loanee Carl Jenkinson will hope to force his way into the picture at some stage.
Anderson, though, says he would overlook all of the above in his favoured XI, with John Stones’ versatility and greater understanding of his defensive duties seeing the Everton man get the nod.
Anderson, who was speaking at GameChangers Football as part of his role as ambassador for the Nottingham City of Football project, told HITC Sport during a phone interview: “I don’t think there is much to choose between them, in fairness. Stones played right-back in a couple of games and I think he did okay in that position.
“Clyne seems to have it at the moment, and I think they are all good going forward. Myself, though, I quite like Stones playing there. He’s comfortable on the ball, he might not be as athletic going forward as the others, because they are about going forward and that’s their forte, which it isn’t for Stones, but I think you can play someone in front of him like (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain or (Theo) Walcott, who are quick and good at getting in advanced positions and then back yourself up by playing Stones there.”
Stones is not the only man currently plying his trade at Goodison Park to have caught Anderson’s eye, with Ross Barkley another of those looking to nail down a starting berth with England.
He has impressed in recent outings, helping Hodgson’s men to complete a faultless qualification campaign for Euro 2016, and there is a growing belief that he – even when taking national skipper Wayne Rooney into account – would be the best option to fill the playmaking number 10 role heading forward.
Anderson said: “Barkley has done really well over the last two or three games. He’s been the eye-catching person, so I think he’s the one that we should pin our hopes on in the summer. I don’t see why he can’t deliver because he’s done really well for Everton this season.”
Stones and Barkley should, if fit, expect to form part of Hodgson’s plans in France next summer.
Given that both are also just 21 years of age, they will also be relied upon to provide defensive stability and creative spark in the England set-up for many years to come.
Viv Anderson is an ambassador for the Nottingham City of Football project and was taking part in GameChangers Football with GameCity. For more information and to find your football go to http://www.city-of-football.uk