Pique would have Stones in his world dream team

11/11/2015  26 Comments  [Jump to last]
Asked by The Telegraph to name his ideal international team ahead of his country's friendly with England, Barcelona and Spain star Gerard Pique reveals his admiration for John Stones.

The Everton man is the only Englishman in the highly-decorated defender's XI, further enhancing Stones's reputation as a Continental-style player and someone capable of playing for the best in La Liga.

Rio Ferdinand and John Terry were the two main central defenders in England. Top-level.

Now I think John Stones is a really, really, good player. He will have a good career. Hes like Rio, a bit. Hes young and alongside him they probably need one who is more experienced. Jagielka is injured. But Smalling is playing well at Manchester United.

» Read the full article at The Telegraph

Reader Comments (26)

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Andrew Presly
1 Posted 11/11/2015 at 19:08:02
The tapping up begins!

Wouldn't actually begrudge him going to Barca in a few seasons for the appropriate fee.

Would depress me to see him play for a domestic rival whatever the price, though. Hopefully we're past that.

Colin Glassar
2 Posted 11/11/2015 at 19:30:59
Same here, Andrew. I'd prefer him to stay but if not to play for a European team not one of our rivals in the Premier League.
Winston Williamson
3 Posted 11/11/2015 at 19:54:41
Interesting that he holds Jagielka in quite high an opinion. Not that I don't, but it's good that Barcelona players recognise the Blues have class players...
Brent Stephens
4 Posted 11/11/2015 at 20:14:07
Tap tap.
Nick Entwistle
5 Posted 11/11/2015 at 20:31:24
Don't think anyone needs tapping up to go to Barca.

RM: John, Barcelona put in a phenomenal bid.

James Stewart
6 Posted 11/11/2015 at 20:45:38
I can see Stones doing a Bale and moving to Barca or Real when the time comes. Hopefully not for another year or two.
Harold Matthews
7 Posted 11/11/2015 at 23:43:14
I can understand this. Stones is a younger version of Pique who is absolute class on the ball.
Anthony Dwyer
8 Posted 12/11/2015 at 01:51:55
It's great that Stone is being recognised in high places. After the European Championships, his price could go stupid.

Well done to all concerned with sending Chelsea packing. Hopefully we can somehow kick on so as he can meet all his goals playing for us, but if not a massive move to Spain would cushion the blow.

Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 12/11/2015 at 11:36:59
If Martinez can convince the likes of Lukaku, Stones, Barkley, Deulofeu, McCarthy to play one more season and strengthen the team in a few key areas (goal-keeping, creative playmaker, striker), then we may achieve something special.
Graham Mockford
10 Posted 12/11/2015 at 11:49:53
There is an inevitability about Stones leaving, that feels shitty but it's the hard facts of life. If the player wants to leave, and let's be honest if Barca came knocking you would understand why he would want to, you cannot force him to stay.

My gut feeling is the end of the season. To that end you have to hope he establishes himself in the England team and has a good Euro tournament. You will then be talking an auction with the best sides in Europe and a fee in the region of £40-50m. You could do a lot of squad improvement with that type of money.

In the mean time enjoy him whilst he is here.

Ben Jones
11 Posted 12/11/2015 at 11:54:59
No qualms about Stones moving to Barcelona at all.

I can see him going as well. He's better than Bartra and Mascherano isn't even a natural centre-back!!

Raymond Fox
12 Posted 12/11/2015 at 12:20:15
I think I must be watching different games, but Stones is a long way off being the finished article yet.

Why is my heart in my mouth when the opposition cross the ball into our goalmouth? Surely that's because the central defenders are not dependable to deal with them.

Okay, Howard's dodgy on crosses also, but he doesn't get a lot of help though, does he? I'm thinking more when Jags is playing, Mori might be an improvement but where's Stones?

Yes, John will probably become a great player in time but I think talking him up too much too soon is jumping the gun, à la Ross.

Tony J Williams
13 Posted 12/11/2015 at 12:51:39
I agree, Raymond, far from the finished article and since he has returned from his injury he seems to be going backward.

Last season he was bullying seasoned brick-shithouse pros; at the moment, he is getting pushed around by no-marks.

He will improve again, but it's worrying at the moment.

Bobby Thomas
14 Posted 12/11/2015 at 13:54:27
All our defenders, and we have good ones, have gone backwards.

This is typified by our full backs. Seamus Coleman is a shadow of the player he became both going forward and defensively. These days, defensively he is poor. How is it possible to make Seamus Coleman this bad? He also looks to be playing like he doesn't believe in the manager or what he's being asked to do. Baines has gone backwards defensively also, providing way too much space and not stopping crosses. There is a lack of discipline and focus on the basics/dirty work.

For me, Jags is a very good centre back, not top notch but a very good one; England squad player was/is his level. Still very quick at 33 and after a couple of knee injuries.

Stones is going to make mistakes due to his age, but he is clearly very, very talented. There's no way we are keeping him long term and part of me thinks is would be better to take the money, develop other parts of the team and not have to suffer his growing pains. I also think from the standpoint of his development he would be much better off away from Martinez, although as I don't particularly rate him I would say that.

Funes Mori definitely looks a player, although how long he will look one after repeated exposure to Roberto's culture of disorganisation and lack of responsibility taking is anyone's guess.

And this is the point: The players we've got, there's no way we should be this poor at the back. We are consistently unable to defend crosses, don't stop them, and the marking, organisation and communication is poor. I do feel sorry for them sometimes, as they can be left very exposed.

Frequently we give the ball away and teams are straight into the back 4, on the break. We just don't work on the shape and organisation enough. We started the season looking more solid and organised but that started going fairly quickly, you could see it unravelling.

This culture of just focus on what you're good at with no comebacks is hurting some of the players. It's hurting Baines, Coleman and Barkley. Ross Barkley wants to be a box-to-box midfielder in time, playing deeper. How can he possibly be that when he is as bad off the ball as he is at the moment, with no hint that he is being asked to develop that side of his game? Don't worry about that, just focus on going forward...

Ross is a work in progress but only geniuses get to play the Number 10 with no defensive responsibility, and Ross isn't one. Martinez is not helping him, or the team, by saying just go and play, in my opinion.

Ajay Gopal
15 Posted 12/11/2015 at 17:11:10
I had a look at Pique's World XI and all I can say is "Wow". For Stones to be in Pique's starting XI with the bench consisting of: Casillas, Dani Alves, Eden Hazard, David Silva, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo!!

I am rubbing my hands in glee (let alone Bill Kenwright)! £50-60 million easy! Think of what a club like Everton could do with that kind of money.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 12/11/2015 at 17:24:03
Actually this may sound a bit mad but I think Stones, given his playing style would arguably be better suited to the Spanish league.

At times in the hurly burly safety first gung ho nature of the English Premier League it's very hard to be greatly successful trying to play the ball out of defence when you are given so little time on the ball.

Stones's elegance would shine through in the more football orientated La Liga with the pace being better suited to ball playing central defenders.

I'd much rather Stones go to a proper famous big club like Barcelona than rich rent boy Johnny Come Lately Chelsea...

Chelsea or Barcelona??

It's hardly a contest really is it?

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 12/11/2015 at 17:42:32
Let the kid develop at Everton. Whenever anyone close to Stones is asked the question, "Is he staying?", then "I don't know" is usually the answer given. He's still learning his trade, as the goals against Watford and Man City have shown. But it's a fine line, in being a great defender because, if you get too tight, players who are good on the floor like Watmore will skin you.

It really is a pleasure watching a kid make the game look so easy though, and some of his performances before his injury really were magnificent for one so young. Hopefully he gets back to that level soon.

I can also understand why Piquet picked him in this team, because after playing in England when he was a kid himself, he obviously knows how difficult it can be for young defenders, playing in the hurley, burley Premier League.

Colin Glassar
18 Posted 12/11/2015 at 18:08:13
It always amazes me how easily we deride our own young players with comments like; he doesn't tackle, he can't jump, his decision making is poor, he's going backwards, he's overrated etc..... Yet former, and current players, pundits, managers etc....drool over them!!

Maybe we should analyse ourselves first before constantly criticising the likes of Ross, Lukaku, Stones etc.... Just a thought.

Colin Glassar
19 Posted 12/11/2015 at 18:15:57
Oh and btw, RIP, Martin Fulop.
Graham Mockford
20 Posted 12/11/2015 at 18:34:04
Raymond #12 Tony #13

I mean I know a diversity of opinion is a good thing but really!

Tony you say he is being bullied. We'll certainly Deeney, Pelle, Costa, Gomis, Kane, Ings and Carroll never bullied him because he dominated every single one of them. Who exactly has bullied him?

Yes he had a couple of average games and sure he will develop. But he is already as good a defender as Smalling and Cahill after just over a season of first team football. And as a ball playing centre half he is at a level they will only ever dream about.

It's easy to hype young players but, in Stones's case, he will live up to it.

Paul Andrews
21 Posted 12/11/2015 at 18:58:07
I posted last week that Stones had been over-playing when it didn't need that.

I went to West Ham on Saturday; Stones gave a magnificent performance. Man of the Match by a country mile.

Jim Hardin
22 Posted 12/11/2015 at 20:33:45
The master plan unveiled. Barca players tapping up Stones so he goes there after this season. This coincides with Jose finally managing to get himself fired from Chelsea. He ends up at Barcelona and he has Stones to boot.
Patrick Murphy
23 Posted 12/11/2015 at 21:07:13
Whatever level John was at at Upton Park will do for me. I can't remember an Everton defender being so cool and tidy on the ball, so often, especially for someone so young. A pleasure to watch and we should all enjoy his talents whilst he is still wearing an Everton shirt.
Harold Matthews
24 Posted 12/11/2015 at 21:54:06
After the Sunderland game where he had trouble putting one foot in front of the other, Stones was moving much more freely against West Ham and is hopefully coming right back to the form he was showing before the leg injury. He didn't dominate Carroll. He beat him in the air once.

The big geordie lad had more tussles with Barry and especially Funes Mori but, truth be told, he only looked half-fit. Sakho was meant to start but had to pull out.

Even so, to see Stones moving more like his old self was the big plus of the day for me. Can't wait to see him in the games coming up.

Anthony Dwyer
25 Posted 14/11/2015 at 01:38:18
Let's be serious, John Stones is superb. I can't understand anyone who says anything other than this. Yes he has some heart-in-mouth moments but he's a centre-half who's a part of a new generation of footballers. He's a footballer first and a defender second and he's outstanding at it.

John Stones is 21 and he's a Rolls Royce of a player. His biggest worry is when he hasn't got a man to mark, if hes up against a player who is allowed to drop off deep I think Stones becomes a little worried on what he should do.

That said, he's 21 and he is an outstanding talent.
Brin Williams
26 Posted 19/11/2015 at 10:35:56
I read that Barca reps were at the England - France game, casting an eye on John Stones in particular. Will this involve a permanent deal for Deulofeu and see Stones at the Nou Camp?

Oh yes – there was another of their players that we were interested in as well a young forward forget his name. Those and some cash seem better than Chelski!!

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