Former Liverpool and Rangers midfielder Graeme Souness has claimed in The Sunday Times that Everton defender John Stones has gone backwards.
“Mourinho was also at the front of the queue to sign John Stones last summer, but it’s a different management at Chelsea now and they might be thinking differently,” Souness wrote in The Sunday Times.
“What has he done to enhance his status this season? He has gone backwards if anything. He senses danger and has the athleticism to deal with it, but his decision-making with the ball is not great. He takes risks.”
“It’s not about his passing ability or being quick or brave enough, it’s his decision-making, which if anything has deteriorated,” added the former Scotland international. “He will be elaborate, make a mistake and give you a chance. He needs strong management and needs to be told, because it is a recurring theme.”
It is a bit harsh of Souness to claim that Stones has gone backwards, but it cannot be denied that the youngster does need to improve.
The England international defender, who can play as a centre-back or as a right-back, has been directly responsible for two of the Premier League goals that Everton have conceded so far this season.
One must remember that Stones is just 21 years of age, and that he is still learning and developing his game.
Stones is not the finished article yet, but there can be no denial about his talent and quality.
The Everton defender is very comfortable on the ball and can build up attacks from the back.
While one can understand why some Everton fans are frustrated with him retaining the ball in dangerous positions, Stones should be encouraged to play his natural game for him to develop into a truly great defender.