Hodgson hits out at criticism of ‘talented’ Stones

Date published: Monday 28th March 2016 8:16

John Stones: Defended by England manager Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson has hit out at criticism of John Stones just months after the Everton defender was ‘touted as the best centre-back in the country’.

Fresh from beating Germany 3-2 in Berlin on Saturday, England will next face Holland in another glamour friendly at Wembley on Tuesday night.

Hodgson has revealed he will field a changed team and, although yet to decide whether to call up a replacement left-back for the injured Ryan Bertrand, the 68-year-old did suggest Stones would be given a chance to impress, despite losing his place at Everton.

“We believe in John Stones, there is no question of that,” Hodgson said.

“He will get a chance on Tuesday to show what he can do, we believe he is the type of centre-half who could be very, very good for England going forward, but it is up to him.

“First of all he has got to play well enough to break into his club side and there is nothing I can do about that.

“Then he has got to make certain he is so good with us that we would consider moving the two we had and continue not to use Phil Jagielka because he is one of four centre-backs.”

Stones has gone from courting interest from the likes of Chelsea last summer to sitting on the bench at Goodison Park, but Hodgson has refused to add to criticism of the 21-year-old.

“All I can do is give him encouragement and make sure he knows how much we believe in him and how much we think he is a very, very talented player,” he added.

“He does have the potential to have a fantastic England career, I will give him the chance on Tuesday and he needs to prove that.

“Not so long ago he was being touted around as not only the best centre-back in the county but a centre-back all the top teams would have.

“He was being touted for the reason because people said how comfortable he was on the ball, how composed he is, how good he is when he brings the ball out.

“Then a couple of games go and he makes a couple of mistakes and we want to throw that back on his head.”

Goalkeeper Jack Butland will not be involved on Tuesday after suffering an ankle injury against Germany, but Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater is likely to make his debut, with the likes of Vardy, Ross Barkley and Daniel Sturridge also hoping to play from the start.

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