Everton defender John Stones had an evening to forget as he put in a largely disappointing performance during England’s narrow 2-1 defeat to Holland at Wembley Stadium.
After the Three Lions came from behind to record a wonderful 3-2 win over Germany last week, many picked out the defence as a slight weakness and an area to improve, especially in possession.
Former Barnsley man Stones is widely regarded as England’s best centre-back on the ball, with his ability so often demonstrated with the Toffees under the guidance of Spanish boss Roberto Martinez.
Calls for the Everton defender to be included in England’s starting eleven for the visit of Holland were loud and clear, yet at the full-time whistle doubts certainly outweighed the positives.
|Tackles||Interceptions||Effective Clearances||Aerial Duels Won||Pass-accuracy||Key Passes|
As shown by the table provided by Opta, the talented defender illustrated what a good player he is on the ball yet showed clear weaknesses in his defending out of possession.
He failed to record a single tackle over the 90 minutes, while two interceptions, two effective clearances and one aerial duel winner was all he had to show for defensive contributions.
While Stones’ ability on the ball can’t be questioned, there appears to be naivety about his play and that was evident in the second-half when his slip led to an eventual Holland penalty.
Most defenders, in that situation, would have passed the ball back to the goalkeeper yet Stones unnecessarily tried to bring the ball out under pressure, causing his own mistake.
Writing on Twitter after the game, a number of England fans weren’t impressed by the 21-year-old’s defending with some suggesting he shouldn’t be in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad this summer.
So many players aren't good enuf!! Milner, Sturridge, Lallana, Walcott and Stones is a liability!! #Eng— Simon Day (@siday09) March 29, 2016
Stones is almost too confident on the ball. Slip aside, he's put his team under pressure on two or three occasions when in possession #Eng— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans34) March 29, 2016
I really wanted Stones to stake a claim for starting in the Euro's but he's done himself no favours again. #ENG— Richard Whittington (@Whittington1971) March 29, 2016
Can't understand how people rate Stones as highly as they do. Makes way too many mistakes with the ball, gets away with it a lot. #ENG— Tom Bennett (@TomBennett10) March 29, 2016
Why has Stones got it in his head that he's some kind of baller? Proper liability if he starts in the Euros #ENG— Rowen Martin (@rowenmartin27) March 29, 2016
Stones is a centre back - he needs to defend as a priority, his job isn't to be feeding strikers or going on runs with the ball #eng— Nile Hollowell (@NileHollowell22) March 29, 2016