The rise of John Stones has been nothing short of meteoric but the Everton defender will not allow success to go to his head
Born and bred in Barnsley, John Stones graduated from the South Yorkshire club’s youth academy to sign professional forms in December 2011.
Just 13 months later the young defender, dubbed a ‘Rolls Royce’ by two different managers, signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Everton Football Club.
His astonishing progress was crowned just four months after making his first Premier League start for Everton as John Stones made his full England debut on 30 May, 2014 in a 3–0 win over Peru.
While John Stones may not be the first or last teenager to play for his country, someone who is as well placed as any to predict a stellar career for the 20 year-old sensation is former Barnsley team mate Stephen Foster.
The now retired Oakwell favourite played alongside John Stones, as the now fully fledged England international made his first team debut for Barnsley.
John Stones: Rolls Royce
And Foster, referred to by Stones as being a ‘role-model,’ has no doubts the Barnsley graduate has all the attributes to continue his meteoric rise to the pinnacle of English football.
“Every time someone asks me about him, I always say the same thing – I’ve never known two separate managers speak about him and both describe him as a Rolls Royce,” said Foster.
“He’s got the lot. He’s athletic, he’s got the build, he’s quick and got good feet.”
Anybody who has witnessed John Stones in action this season, one in which he helped Everton to a record Premier League points tally including ten clean sheets in his fledgling top flight season, would be hard pressed to disagree with Foster’s analysis.
However, it is Foster’s understanding of the young defenders upbringing which underpins the former Barnsley stalwarts belief that John Stones has a glittering career in front of him.
“He’s had a really good upbringing. He’s still the grounded lad he was, I still text him and he replies so it hasn’t gone to his head!
“Everyone who knows him wants him to do so well,” said Foster on Barnsley’s official website.
“It was always obvious he had talent, but the most impressive bit was he had a bite about him in his determination,” added Foster.
“His talent was obvious in the games I watched him play in. The reason why he continues to do so well is that he listens. For any aspiring footballer coming through the ranks, that’s the most important thing – to listen.
“His character shone through because he wanted to ask questions, learn and take everything on board.”
While Stephen Foster, who made 244 appearances at the heart of Barnsley’s defence, obviously believes John Stones has everything it takes to go to the top, the sheer speed of his call for international duty took the the now retired Barnsley defender by surprise.
“It was surreal, everyone associated with Barnsley will have got that sense of pride of knowing him. Him doing so well is just great to see. He’ll continue to work hard and push on. You always want nice people to do well.
“The lad’s got no fear. There’s no real fear in the way he plays. He was holding his own in the Premier League and keeping international players out of the team.
“Now he’s a full England international.”