Why some pundits have got things very wrong with John Stones

John Stones

The Everton defender has been encouraged to keep taking risks.

Several pundits have encouraged Everton centre-back John Stones to keep taking risks with his football.

The 21-year-old has become error prone but is, at the same time, praised by many for playing football the proper way - and even being compared with Gerard Pique at Barcelona.

Yet, in trying to promote the right youth values, these pundits have come full circle. Indeed, Encouraging someone who makes mistakes to make more mistakes will never help them develop, in any walk of life.

When children are playing football, freedom of expression is vital. But when someone is making millions and thousands of football fans are depending on you, there has to be a sense of discipline and responsibility.

For Everton, Stones may well be best continuing to take risks. If supporters want him to cost them games if it means he can become one of the world's best defenders eventually (perhaps not even while at Goodison Park), that's completely fine.

But, for England, it's a different matter.

International tournaments are not about teaching young players to be free and creative. International tournaments are about moments.

And the little moments are exactly where the Three Lions usually go wrong.

Incidentally, it was an Everton man who erred at the World Cup, when Leighton Baines allowed his man to cut inside in acres of space and cross for Mario Balotelli's winner.

If Stones spends 90 minutes playing out from the back and playing excellent through balls but England lost 1-0 thanks to him slipping up or being dispossessed - would it have been worth it?

Encouraging Stones to keep on doing what he's doing may make sense for some. But, if he does, he shouldn't be anywhere near the England team during Euro 2016.

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