Roberto Martinez has praised John Stones for his “incredible composure” throughout a summer that saw Chelsea make four bids for the Everton defender.
England defender Stones submitted a transfer request in an attempt to force Everton to sell him to Jose Mourinho’s side, but the Toffees stood firm and refused to do a deal.
Stones has since turned in creditable displays for club and country and ahead of Saturday’s meeting between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park, Martinez has no fears that the 21-year-old will take the game in his stride.
“John has gone from strength to strength,” said Martinez. “He has taken the support of everyone at the football club and he has performed with incredible composure. It shows what type of player he is. Our interest is to look after every player. We are going to carry on doing that.
“I have been quite vocal about not having the window open when the competition is on. We took it all as a compliment as it means we are doing something well and it gives you a feeling of control. I don’t agree from a human point of view and the authorities need to look at it.
Neither side have started the season as well as they would have liked, but Martinez has dismissed talk of Chelsea’s demise while insisting he was expecting a tough start for the Toffees.
He added: “They haven’t lost any of their key players and they won the league last season with a lot of dominance. We knew that the first 10 games were going to be really demanding. We are facing tough, tough opposition.
“We understand that the next six games are against teams that finished in the top eight last season. The first four fixtures have been challenging and we expected that. Chelsea won the league. People will have expected them to get more points than they have but the margins have been small.”