Everton boss Roberto Martinez reveals he tried to sign Stones for Wigan

The 21-year-old defender started his career at Barnsley.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has told The Mail that he once tried to sign defender John Stones when he was in charge of Wigan Athletic.

The 21-year-old centre-back has emerged as one of the most promising young English players of recent years, following his arrival to Goodison Park from Barnsley in 2013.

His career has spiked since then and the youngster was reportedly the subject of a flurry of big-money bids from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho last summer, the most expensive of which was believed to be somewhere in the region of £37 million (The Express).

Prior to that he was plying his trade in the humble setting of Oakwell, and Martinez revealed that he tried to sign him for the Latics.

"John has had an incredible journey already. When I arrived here, he was fourth-choice right-back. That is where he was seen as a young player," he told The Mail.

"I had tried to sign him for Wigan when he was at Barnsley. We always saw him as a centre half and you see where he is now, having played almost 80 games in the Premier League.

"He is only 21. The experience he has had this season is going to make him the player he can be."

Despite his undoubted potential, Stones has endured a rocky last few months for club and country in a run of form which has prompted debate as to whether he is worth the hype.

But it's certainly worth pointing out his age, along with the fact he is only going to get better - a lot better - and Everton, despite his form, will do well to hold on to him for much longer.

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