Michael Owen backs brilliant Everton defender John Stones

England's John Stones

The Everton defender is set to star for England at Euro 2016.

England's John Stones

Michael Owen has offered fierce backing to Everton defender John Stones, saying he was brilliant this past season, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The Everton youngster came in for recent criticism as the Blues struggled at the wrong end of the table for much of the campaign.

Many have questioned his ability, with some believing he is not good enough defensively despite his qualities elsewhere.

England's John Stones

He is nonetheless a part of England’s squad for Euro 2016 in France this summer, although doubts remain about whether he should be starting in the heart of the defence.

Owen though has no doubts about Stones' quality, saying he would pick him alongside Manchester United defender Chris Smalling because he has been fantastic.

“I’m picking Stones to partner Smalling in the opener because he’s brilliant,” the Liverpool Echo reports him saying.

England's John Stones

“It really angers me that people have blindly assumed he’s a player prone to mistakes. I just don’t understand it. I’ve watched him many times this season and he’s been fantastic.”

It will be interesting to see if Roy Hodgson hands Stones a starting place at Euro 2016 this summer.

He is easily the best defender that the England manager has at his disposal, especially when it comes to playing out of defence with the ball.

That fact alone should make him a starter as it could be something that is crucial to the Three Lions’ hopes of success at the tournament.

England's John Stones in action

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch