Martinez: Too early to judge Stones

26/01/2016  43 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roberto Martinez has spoken of the need to be patient with John Stones, pointing to his relatively tender age but massive potential.

Everton resisted a series of big-money offers for the 21-year-old last summer and he remains one of the hottest properties in the English game but his performances have come under some scrutiny over the past month due to a couple of rash last-ditch tackles one was unfairly punished against Stoke last month, another he got away with at Manchester City a fortnight ago and his propensity to try and play his way out of tight situations at the back, something encouraged by Martinez.

His manager was asked for his take on the England internationals current form during his press conference ahead of tomorrow evenings return to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

John is 21. I think hes played 68 games in the Premier League and Id never assess or judge a player until hes made a 100 starts in any league, Martinez explained.

What I would say is that John Stones has got incredible potential and hes still a young man and is in the right environment to develop that potential into becoming a very, very experienced footballer.

"Whatever the judgement and criticism is from the outside, we accept that; its part of the role [but] I think John Stones is in the perfect environment to fulfil that potential and become one of the greatest players England has ever seen."

Stones was criticised for his involvement in Swanseas first goal on Sunday, one which saw Tim Howard bring down Andre Ayew trying to clear a pass back from the young defender that led to Gylfi Sigurdsson putting the South Wales side ahead from the penalty spot.

Martinez was asked if he has spoken with Stones about when it is appropriate to play football at the back versus simply getting rid of the ball in certain circumstances

I think as a player we speak with every single individual and make sure that every day is a day you can improve as a footballer in any aspect, he replied.

John is the first one to know when hes played well and when hes played badly/ He doesnt need anyone to tell him know. Football is a game of errors, football is a game where you have to learn from those situations. But in the same way, as a footballer you need to feel the warmth of your football club and your people and John has that in huge amounts and this is a period that he will benefit from once more.

Hes a young man who has been through a lot and some of the performances this season have been magnificent. Is he the finished article? Clearly not, because hes 21 and played only 68 games."


Reader Comments (43)

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Al Reddish
1 Posted 26/01/2016 at 18:56:46
Sorry Bobby but Stones does need telling when he's had a shit game, as should the rest of them.
Dan McKie
2 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:02:40
More deflection tactics from Roberto. Hoping that by suggesting we are already judging Stones, that we and the media won't judge him. It is Martinez who is failing John Stones right now. The better a footballer he becomes is coming at a cost to his primary job, to defend.
Martin Mason
3 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:03:36
For once he isn't talking gibberish. The sky is the limit providing the coaching is good.
Colin Glassar
4 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:03:52
Roberto sounds more and more like some New Age Hippie with each passing day.

Despite agreeing with most of what he says about John the lad does need to be told, in no uncertain terms, when he's screwing up.

Iain Johnston
7 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:33:33
You mean 65 EPL games don't you Roberto? He's played 90 minutes in 56 of them... Come on admit it, you've just thought up 100 as a nice round figure haven't you?

The point is, Bobby mate, 35 full EPL games was enough games for Mourinho to decide he was worth £38m+. It took just 67 games for SAF to judge Rooney.

You buy players from other countries almost every window, if they haven't played 100 games in the EPL, how do you judge them to be good enough for Everton?

Craig Mills
8 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:35:32
Let's give Martinez a little bit of credit here, he's not gonna cone out and say in his press conference before the biggest match of our season "Yeah, I've told Stonesey to launch it more often" but I'd be pretty sure Sunday's performance was anaylsed and serious conversations took place. Stones will know he's messed up, the test is how does he respond tomorrow??
Anthony Dwyer
9 Posted 26/01/2016 at 19:48:53
John Stones is a superb prospect who is playing week in week out at the highest level already.

Fans adore him at Everton but unfortunately the same fans are restless because the clown in charge isn't able to do his job properly.

We have been grumbling during games of late but the reason for that is we are massively under achieving.

The board need to man up and sack Martinez, his record proves he is not good enough to manage Everton or John Stones, he's not good enough to manage any Premier League side.

Reg Gates
10 Posted 26/01/2016 at 20:06:26
Give him more time!? For what? Keep on evolving? Went backwards last season and has not improved one dot this season. Just call time and start again, enough is enough.
Ray Robinson
11 Posted 26/01/2016 at 20:07:06
Martinez was asked if he has spoken with Stones about when it is appropriate to play football at the back versus simply getting rid of the ball in certain circumstances.

"I think as a player we speak with every single individual and make sure that every day is a day you can improve as a footballer in any aspect," he replied.

Talk about a bullshit, evasive answer! About 10 more words in the sentence than there needs to be. How does the kid learn if the manager doesn't coach him? Answer: the crowd educate him – never the best way to learn!

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 26/01/2016 at 20:13:26
Notwithstanding the bad backpass, Stones' problem is not on the ball. His problem is positioning. He doesn't mark well – nobody has ever taught him how to put his body on an attacker, he's all hands – and he ball-watches, which means attackers are able to make space behind him without him knowing. Both of these problems show up most of all when a high ball is played into the box.

You know who had the same issues? Coleman. Four years ago he was a defensive train wreck waiting to happen. Like Stones, he had the speed and innate tackling ability but none of the positional instincts. Unlike Coleman, he had a manager who taught him those fundamentals. Thanks to Moyes – and it was a laborious process – Coleman gradually improved into a pretty damn decent man-on-man defender.

The concern with Stones is that he HASN'T improved. He's still making the same fundamental positioning errors he was making in October. And it's pretty obvious Roberto hasn't been focusing on it. He should long ago have pulled Unsworth off the U21s bench to give Stones some private lessons in getting down and gritty.

Dennis Ng
13 Posted 26/01/2016 at 20:33:11
The manager picks the players and are supposed to coach them. Clearly this has not been done and someone is obviously sleeping on their jobs.

If we have not seen enough to justify hiring a defensive coach to provide additional coaching to our players, then it only proves that RM is not adequate. Either stubbornness, insanity or any other reason, his true colors are bare for everyone to see now.

Howard may or may not be equally culpable but if we're playing a frail defensive shape that depends on the GK playing an out of the world game every single minute of every game to keep us in the game, it is time to change the man making the tactics, especially when he is not going to change his thinking anyway.

That does not mean RM has to be fired, since his recruitment has been very well received, but definitely we need better brains during coaching and at the touchline directly the game. (Though I won't miss him if he's gone.)

We're near the bottom of the form table, so if this is not crisis, I don't know what is. At this rate, we'll be in the relegation battle by game 30. Who wants to buy a club on the brink of relegation?

Jim Hardin
15 Posted 26/01/2016 at 21:42:25
Mike Gaynes,

Excellent point. The difference I see is that Coleman is feisty and will get stuck in (more in his younger days) and isn't afraid of contact. Stones is.

A couple of times this season, replays have shown him actually standing flat-footed and turning away from the opposing player and the ball instead of going up for it. How does one teach a centre-back to like contact or at least accept it as part of the job?

James Flynn
16 Posted 26/01/2016 at 21:47:51
Mike Gaynes (#10).

Stones's situation described exactly.
Jim Bennings
17 Posted 26/01/2016 at 22:15:12
If Roberto needs any advice on how to set up a defence he could do worse than watch Stoke tonight at Anfield.
Ian Riley
18 Posted 26/01/2016 at 22:29:11
Stones would have developed as a defender better under Moyes. The hype around Stones would not have been allowed under Moyes if it meant comprising clean sheets. He would have been taken out of the team and told to defend first. Stones is believing his own hype and arrogant with it. Sell him or drop him!!
Craig Mills
19 Posted 26/01/2016 at 22:35:39
Well said, Jim, I thought Stoke were excellent tonight. Unfortunately the penalty lottery didn't go in their favour.

Bring on the RS in the final.

Jim Bennings
20 Posted 26/01/2016 at 22:37:34
Jim Hardin,

In other words Stones, maybe like Barkley isn't really one for the physical side of the game whereas the likes of Rooney and as you say Coleman in his younger day's, seemed primed battlers.

We all know how good Stones is on the ball, hell we are told enough by Roberto, but I question whether he is really hard enough to be a truly great centre half.

Here's food for thought, I wonder if he may eventually be better suited to defensive midfield?After all we always thought Jack Rodwell would convert to centre-half did we not?

Jamie Barlow
21 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:06:23
Some of the posts on here are mental.

He's 21 years old. Why are some even questioning whether he'll get better? He will learn to position himself better. He will learn when to fuck about and when to get rid. He hasn't even stopped growing yet so I wouldn't worry about him being physical enough.

All the same bollocks was being spouted about Lukaku not long ago. Just let him play football and enjoy it while we can because we'll all be pissed off watching him go on to great things with some other club.

Craig Mills, spot on.

Aren't we playing City tomorrow in a semi final which we are already 2-1 up in? Shouldn't we all be buzzing? Fuckin miserable on here!!

Peter Mills
22 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:12:00
He'll be a great centre half, sadly not with us. It's a real shame.
Keith Monaghan
23 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:12:32
Agree 100% Jamie @ 18!!! Well said. COYB
James Flynn
24 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:30:35
Jamie (18) - "Some of the posts on here are mental."

Including yours.

68 games into his career, Stones is looking weaker and weaker as a CB. Deny that.

That he COULD develop? Sure, why not. Has he developed the basic skills of his position under this coaching staff? We both know, the answer is no. And under this coaching staff he won't.

Have to add something, the coaching staff aside.

Stones is soft.

Peter Askins
25 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:31:06
I've got to agree, Jamie, but we're definitely in the minority on here.

The majority of our first teamers this season have been youngsters - I'm talking Lukaku, Stones, Barkley, and Delboy. Throw in Galloway, and Funes Mori, in place of Baines and Jags for good parts of the season, and we're inexperienced throughout the team.

Would other managers leave their team so exposed, with so many youngsters in the firing line ? Probably not, but by playing these kids, they have now become incredibly valuable assets. Since we remain a club with little money to spend, that will stand us in good stead, should richer teams come with a fat chequebook.

Will we get relegated this season ? No. Will these inconsistent young players turn up tomorrow night, and put in a big performance ? Undoubtedly.

Can a Martinez team go to a big four team, and win away from home ? Yes. Did a Moyes team achieve the same, over 11 years ? We all know the answer to that one, even with "legends" like Cahill, Arteta, and Rooney.

Rio Ferdinand is calling Stones the best defender of his generation, and imploring fans to get off his back, and let him develop. Rio Ferdinand, the best English centre back since Bobby Moore, arguably. I'm happy to listen to him.

Paul Kelly
26 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:47:45
Stones will be world class but not under the guidance of El Bob.
Mike Gaynes
27 Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:56:31
Peter #21 and Jamie #18, just to be clear, I believe Stones will be an absolutely brilliant CB. And he should be in the lineup for every game. Pointing out his flaws doesn't mean I think he should be out. Or sold.

James #20 and Jim #17, I disagree that Stones is soft – every tackle is crisp and he never pulls out. And I think a CB can be great without being a "hard" man and getting stuck in. I believe he's simply lacking in the defensive fundamentals, including how to use his hips, shoulders and forearms to move an attacker off-balance – BEFORE the ball arrives – and win in the air. Jags is an expert at it (as is that fucking prick at Chelsea). With the right instruction, and a couple more years in the weight room, he'll get there.

And the first time he knocks somebody like Costa or Giroux on his ass, it'll be his biggest step towards being world class.

Denis Richardson
28 Posted 26/01/2016 at 00:03:33
Surprised no one picked up on the 'will be one of the greatest players England has ever seen'.

Got to love the way our manager keeps the kids feet on the ground....

The lad already has enough to think about without Martinez saying he's the best thing since sliced bread!

(Hope the grass isn't too sticky tomorrow.)

Phil Walling
29 Posted 26/01/2016 at 00:12:05
I'm beginning to believe that The Philosopher's coaching technique relies on telling each of his players in turn that he is the best ever to have graced the game.

Weaknesses and mistakes are overlooked and forgotten in the belief that they will automatically disappear once 100 games have been completed.

I wonder what our man would be saying if he had Spurs' Dele Alli in his team? The kid has only played 23 Premier League games as is leaving Barkley in his wake!

Peter McHugh
30 Posted 27/01/2016 at 00:13:06
It's about time Barkley showed his class. I think that will have a greater bearing on the result tomorrow than Stones' performance. So much faith is put on him which in last dozen games has not paid off and you'd have to say Delefeou would be better to have that role behind Lukaku on present form
Iain Johnston
31 Posted 27/01/2016 at 02:15:45
Peter (#21). I don't think anyone feels that Stones, Galloway, Barkley or any of them aren't good enough. The frustration is borne from the fact that we know they are.

It's the coaching methods and tactics which are not up to the standard.

As for "Can a Martinez team go away to a big 4 team and win?"

We've played the established top four away 11 times in 2.5 seasons under Martinez, W1, D3, L7...
In the three years and 12 away games previous to this under Moyes. W1, D4, L7.

The home stats against the big 4 are just as identical...
RM pld 11 W4, D3, L4... DM pld 12 W5, D3, L4...

Jim Bennings
32 Posted 27/01/2016 at 02:33:19
Barkley is a different matter yet again to Stones.

Barkley has undoubtedly not moved on at the speed or level anticipated after his World Cup selection.

He's too tentative in his play and lacks a real decisive edge to his game at the moment, despite him adding a few more goals to his game earlier this season.

Mentioning Delle Alli, well if only Ross possessed a bit of Alli's naughtiness or thunder to his persona.

Brian Porter
33 Posted 27/01/2016 at 06:06:13
Martinez, as usual, is missing the basic point here. In order for Stones, or any player come to that, to become World class, it takes a lot more than his (Martinez's) softly, softly approach. If he's not performing well and is making basic errors at any given time, he should be removed from the team until the coaches can work on ways to eliminate those mistakes.

Remedial coaching is, or should be, an important part of any player's development. Martinez is doing Stones no favours,by simply lavishing praise on him and sending him out to continue to make those same errors every week.

As many have mentioned it does look from his body language, as if Stones is starting to believe all the hype and think he's better than he is,and can do no wrong. If we have an under-performing child at school do we want his/her teacher to let them go on failing in the belief the situation will resolve itself by the time exam time comes around, or do we rightly expect the teacher to take action to help the child back onto the right track?

There are important lessons to learn in life but it appears Martinez is not mature enough to realise that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. A short spell on the bench and some extra coaching (call it detention if you like), might go some way to getting Stones's feet back on the ground and his head out of the clouds.

Danny O'Neill
34 Posted 27/01/2016 at 07:24:10
Whether you agree with Martinez's comments or don't believe he's the right person to develop his potential, the point is valid. Likewise, supporters and observers of the game are justified to criticise mistakes and performances; I am sure that behind closed doors this happens between staff and players.

Whilst each player is different and players will develop at different stages of their career, there are "windows" where players peak according to position.

Strikers tend to be at their best earlier. midfielders in their prime between 26-30. Central defenders at their best 28-34 and keepers arguably 30-36. The latter 2 areas because experience is required arguably more than the explosive instinct of of forward.

This is clearly applying a slightly sports science theoretical view and is just one view point that could be counter argued as it won't apply to every player however I think in the main it tends to work (statistically).

So what? We want them to be at their very best now but don't expect the best out of Ross consistently for a couple of years and Stones still has a long way to go despite the hype, although hype that is based on blatant potential. Hopefully when that comes, it will be with Everton.

Souness spot on with his comparison to Hansen on Sunday by the way.

Paul Olsen
35 Posted 27/01/2016 at 07:32:50
Not gonna read through all the comments, just gonna agree with #3. Stones should accept hearing it when he performs badly, but this talk of him being overrated and that we should get rid is just nonsense. Fantastic talent.
Neil Pickering
36 Posted 27/01/2016 at 08:16:00
How is Stones going to progress under Martinez exactly? Defensive coaching is obviously an afterthought for our manager, so if I was looking after Stones best interests as far a progressing goes I wouldn't be signing a new deal and I would be looking to move to a club and a coach who will improve me as a defender.

Under our charlatan of a manager he will only learn to be a show pony and will never fulfil his full potential. Harsh thing to say as I selfishly want him to stay, but really would u want to work with Frank Abignale aka Bobby Martinez?

Neil Pickering
37 Posted 27/01/2016 at 08:56:01
On the subject of Barkley; I know I will get slated for this but he is not going to be the player we hoped. His early injuries have stunted his development, and I think what you see know is not far off the finished article. Someone also pointed out that he lacks that bit of devil in his game, and I agree completely with that. I also think he lacks the arrogance and natural confidence to be the player we wanted him to be.

As far a comparison to Delle Alli at spurs: there us no comparison as far as I'm concerned. Again I know I will get slated but I would sell as soon as we can whilst his stocks high. Shame because he's a massive blue, but we could buy better for the money we would get right now.

Bill Griffiths
38 Posted 27/01/2016 at 09:53:23
My view is that Stones is a young player of vast potential who is currently struggling at this moment and feel that he should be rested for a couple of games to recharge his batteries and get his head straight.

I don't know what others think but from his body language and expressions I don't think he looks fully happy and confident at the moment.

I hope he stays at Everton for many seasons but worry that he may leave in the Summer.

John Davies
39 Posted 27/01/2016 at 10:19:38
Everyone should be getting off Stones back. Quite simply the manager isn't good enough (I have a recurring theme going on here). If the lad isn't coached properly, shown when and where "basics" of defending are required, blasted out if and when he's not listening, then he's not going to improve.

Anyone else noticed that Jags, Bainesy, Gareth Barry (experienced players) don't bollock Stones when he cocks up or farts around? It's because they are told NOT to by our useless bloody manager. Oh no, we can't have that can we? That will only make the poor lad nervous and heap pressure on his youthful shoulders!

Martinez says Stones will become an all time England great (just what the lad doesn't need to hear!) that Gareth Barry IS an all time England great, Lukaku IS the best striker in European football and Deulofeu IS the best young talent in Europe. If all that is the case then why is the deluded idiot leading the best squad we've had in years towards a relegation fight? (On current league form, that's a fact.)

Get rid of this ridiculous manager and maybe Stones and the rest of them have a chance. If not let Stones move on and fulfil his potential under someone who knows what they're doing.

MARTINEZ OUT and Everton have a chance.

Peter Morris
40 Posted 27/01/2016 at 10:26:40
So, what you are saying, Bobby, is that Everton should suffer the consequences of his inexperience and naievity, in the form of a handful of unnecessary penalties conceded and goal given cheaply to the opposition because of show boating.

When we have ironed these issues out, we sell him to another club after 100 games or so, who reap the fruits of our club's efforts and our supporter's angst.

Is that it? When did the supporters sign up for that one when they bought their season tickets, Bobby?

Ian Brandes
41 Posted 27/01/2016 at 11:37:41
Like most on here, I rate Stones, but his form of late has been exasperating. Maybe he, or we, need a manager in the Alex Ferguson mould to bring a touch of harsh reality to our young team.

Certainly Bob via his soothing words, will NOT get the best out of him. Maybe it is time for the hair drier treatment, or, dare I say it, some time on the bench for young Mr Stones.

Danny O'Neill
42 Posted 27/01/2016 at 11:56:03
I said the same last week Ian. Maybe time for a break. Two-fold; reminder/reality check and just to take him out of the limelight (pressure cooker) for a while. Funes Mori looks fine and would himself do well alongside Jagielka; after all Funes Mori isn't that much older or experienced himself.
Kevin O'Regan
43 Posted 27/01/2016 at 12:05:22
Agreed that John needs to be told what to do, and that's do the basic defending properly. The creativity can come later when we're 3-0 up. But we are afraid and anxious and pass backwards too much, and face the wrong direction and turn back too much. Why oh why...

My guess is we're missing a holding midfielder – to stay put, be the provider, control the game. Not had anyone replace Arteta in that role. and that's why so many of our quick attacks end back at Howard causing frustration in the team and in the stands.

This would be my No 1 priority – wither get in a holding midfielder or train one up. This person is the main outlet from the back and main distributor going forward. It's a must in my humble opinion. And as long as we don't have one then we cannot afford to mess around at the back.

Frank Bortoli
44 Posted 27/01/2016 at 13:40:27
I have no doubt Stones will make a great player in time and we must make the most of that.

The softly softly approach Martinez advocates can work in certain situation but when the end results is a player who turns off and cannot detect danger then the outcome becomes more serious and he needs to be taken aside and coached or drooped for a couple of games to get the message home.

Maybe centre half is not his best position and I agree with Jim Benning that maybe he is best suited to a defensive midfield role in front of the back four.Let's hope there are no defensive cockups tonight against Man City.

Geoff Evans
45 Posted 27/01/2016 at 17:27:52
Stones and Barkley are both overrated. Having said that, Barkley and particularly Stones are both suffering from playing under an average manager who doesn't know how to get the best from either.
Paul Tran
46 Posted 27/01/2016 at 18:40:43
How do we know Martinez has a 'softly softly' approach. Looks to me like it's the old praise in public , criticise in private school of management. I've often read pieces on here from people with insider knowledge that Martinez is 'different' behind the scenes to when talking in public.

It looks to me that the players are often confused, as if his instructions aren't clear enough. If he talks to them like he talks to the press I could understand why.

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