Barnsley striker praises Everton defender John Stones

John Stones

Sam Winnall says Everton's John Stones is the best defender he was ever faced.

Barnsley striker Sam Winnall has told The Mail that Everton defender John Stones is the best opponent he has ever come up against.

The two teams met in the Capital One Cup earlier this season, an entertaining match which the Premier League side won 5-3 after extra time.

Winnall scored the opening goal in the contest but in an interview with The Mail he has admitted he had to be at his very best, explaining Stones' strengths surprised him. 

He said: "Considering he's very young and inexperienced, he was very hard to play against because he gave me nothing.

"I had to be at my best to score in the game, which I did, so that was pleasing. He just read the game so well for a player that's relatively young. That's what I was so impressed with.

"He was strong, too, which kind of surprised me. You look at his frame and he's quite tall and slender, but he was strong and used his body really well."

Stones is highly rated although has found it tough to live up to the hype surrounding him this season after a summer move to Chelsea was blocked by Everton.

The words of a fellow professional praising him underline just how talented the 21-year-old is, and what outstanding potential he has in the game if he can continue to develop.

Stones began his career at Barnsley, leaving as a teenager, and is now valued at stratospheric figures.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch