Barcelona star Gerard Pique praises Everton defender John Stones

Barcelona's Gerard Pique has been impressed by Everton centre-back John Stones.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has told the Telegraph that Everton defender John Stones is the best English example of a modern-day centre-back.

Pique feels that football has moved on from the days where centre-backs where simply required to be robust and physical.

A much greater reliance is placed on defenders being comfortable in possession, and Pique believes that Stones has all of those qualities.

"Now the position of the centre-back is not just about defending or being nasty or tough,” Pique said. “It’s about knowing how to play football, control the ball, pass and be more comfortable in possession.

“And this is something that 10 years ago [in England] they didn’t understand. Rio was the first one who did it. And now there is Stones, he’s one of the new generation who understand football not just as a defender.”

Stones has been a brilliant find for Everton, and he has established a reputation as one of his country’s finest prospects since moving to Goodison Park.

The 21-year-old may still be learning his trade, but he has looked at ease in the Premier League and is already playing a crucial role for Everton.

Stones is a mainstay in the Toffees’ defence, and his partnership with Phil Jagielka has earned plenty of plaudits so far this season.

Although Jagielka is currently out injured, Stones is now partnering Ramiro Funes Mori at the heart of Everton’s defence, and the duo have made a good start to their relationship, with the pair's initial showings offering plenty of promise.

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