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Is criticism of Everton's Stones indicative of English mentality?

John Stones

Everton's young defender - John Stones, has suffered a drop in form after speculation linking him with Barcelona appeared to hamper his focus.

John Stones is arguably the best footballing defender the Premier League has seen since the days of West Ham and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand.

He is the man who many believe should be at the heart of England's defence at the European Championships in the summer.

Stones had a magnificent start to the campaign, but his confidence and form has dipped in recent weeks due to pressure from the Everton support for what they perceive to be over-playing at the back.

During a game against Tottenham Hotspur in January, Stones was vilified for holding on to the ball for too long in his own penalty area. He turned to the fans and motioned that he had everything under control and that there was no need to worry.

From that point onwards, the relationship between Stones and the fans has deteriorated, and you wonder whether Everton will look to cash in on one of their main assets.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just English fans who bemoan their players for dwelling on the ball rather than clearing it into row Z.

Bayern Munich fans have voiced their frustrations at their team's monotonous passing out from the back too. The fans anger was especially prevalent in their Champions League game against Juventus.

The nature of the former Barnsley man's style has attracted interest from the continent. Barcelona have emerged as potential suitors, with speculation of a £50 million transfer in the off-season gathering momentum.

In spite of recent criticism, Stones does have a vociferous supporter - Rio Ferdinand. At the end of last year he actually phoned into a BBC radio show and defended the Everton man in response to an earlier caller who suggested Stones was 'too flashy' on the ball, as reported by The Mirror:

"I heard the caller earlier and it's typical of people in this country."

"He's the best ball playing centre-half about at the moment. Give the kid a chance to play and to grow and to make mistakes. He's going to make mistakes as a young kid. Allow him to do that, because potentially he could go and play for Barcelona, Real Madrid, the top clubs in this country and be the captain of England, and you can build a team around this kind of kid."

Ferdinand has also spoke regularly about how his time at West Ham allowed him to flourish and develop in to the player he is today. 

There is a feeling that if Stones is to stay at Goodison Park, he must be allowed to make mistakes, in order to grow as a player, and fully reach his outstanding potential.

He has seven caps for his country and has made 85 appearances for Everton.

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