Ross Barkley insists that John Stones is still future England captain material

Ross Barkley

Stones has been under the microscope this season for a perceived drop in form.

Everton and England midfielder Ross Barkley has told FourFourTwo, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo, that he is still certain that his club and country teammate John Stones can go on to captain the Three Lions in the future.

Stones has been the subject of scrutiny and occasional criticism this season for a perceived drop in the level of his performances following a remarkable campaign last term which resulted in Chelsea offering nearly £40 million for his services.

The 21-year-old has been a regular for the Toffees this season, making 38 appearances in all competitions, but Everton's defence in general has struggled under Martinez, something which led former striker Jason Cundy to claim last month that the Spanish boss is failing to nurture the young star.

However, Stones has also played four times for England since the start of the domestic campaign, taking his total caps tally to eight, and Barkley believes his teammate has what it takes to rack up over a century of appearances for his country.

When asked by FourFourTwo if Stones could go on to captain England, Barkley replied, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo: "Yes. At a young age he’s a leader at club level – he talks a lot and leads by example.

"He’s not your typical English defender, he’s more of a ball-playing centre-half, and at international level that’s what you need from your central defenders, as well as being solid at the back.

"He’s the type of player you would normally see in a Spanish side. He’s an unbelievable player, he’ll probably play for England for the next 10 or 15 years and reach over 100 caps."

Despite his comparatively inauspicious season, Stones is still seen as a virtual certainty to be named in Roy Hodgson's squad to compete in Euro 2016 in France this summer.

However, his patchy form may have put his starting place under threat, and he will want to prove he is ready to feature at the heart of defence for his country on such a big stage in the final warm-up games in a few weeks' time.

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