Everton latest: Roberto Martinez defends under-fire John Stones – ‘He’s not the finished article’

first_img1 Everton manager Roberto Martinez has come to the defence of John Stones after the England youngster faced a fan backlash for his performance against Swansea on Sunday.The Three Lions defender has impressed with his natural ball playing ability in recent seasons, but was criticised after his sloppy backpass led to the Swans’ opening goal in a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.It was the latest in a string of bad results for the Toffees, as they drop into the bottom half of the table after a run of just one win from their last ten Premier League games.Martinez has often excused his side’s performances on the basis his young team still have plenty to learn, and he has no doubts Stones, in particular, will prove his critics wrong in the long run.“John is 21 and has played 68 games in the Premier League. I would never judge a player until he plays 100 starts in any league,” he added.“John is the first one to know when he plays well and plays badly. You have to learn from those situations.“Some of his performances this season have been magnificent. Is he the finished article? Clearly not because he is 21 and has played only 68 games.“Whatever the judgement and criticism from outside we accept it but I think John Stones is in the perfect environment to fulfil his potential and become one of the greatest players England has ever seen.”Martinez was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City, with Everton taking a slender 2-1 advantage to the Etihad Stadium .A Merseyside derby final with Liverpool – if the Reds beat Stoke on Tuesday night – could be on the cards with a victory, and Martinez is confident his young side have what it take to secure their place at Wembley, despite their recent struggles in the league.“You want every player to show the mentality of being ready and that the team can rely on that individual and every player has to have that mentality,” the manager added.“Disappointments are painful at the moment because results have not been fair in reflecting the efforts and football we have played.“Psychologically you have to go through experiences in order to create that resilience to create that winning mentality.“When things are going well they [younger players] will get a lot of attention, but in the same way when results are not going well they have to get used to that scrutiny.“I never manage in a blame culture, I manage in an aspirational manner.“There are situations you need that [psychological] support but at the moment I wouldn’t say that is needed in this team.“Getting a big achievement and reach something quite special could help to that positive outlook in our games.“It will be an enormous landmark for the club if we can reach the final of the League Cup.“I don’t think we have anything to lose. Everyone expects Man City to win and to get into the final.” Everton defender John Stones last_img read more