Everton and England defender John Stones has praised manager Roberto Martinez for turning Everton into a unique team
Everton defender John Stones has thanked manager Roberto Martinez for removing the fear factor around Goodison Park. And the English international believes the unique faith and trust the Catalan has instilled into all the players will prove invaluable as the Toffees embark on their first European adventure since the 2009/10 season.
Speaking as Everton launched their brand new Umbro home kit for the 2014/15 campaign, Stones said:
“I am very comfortable getting the ball off the keeper and I like playing like that, so the gaffer coming in wanting to play like that has helped me massively and has only improved my game.
“You can see all of the lads have taken to it and we played attractive football last season and won quite a few games. We are going in the right direction,” continued Stones. “Especially in terms of how we are playing the game and how we want to achieve our targets to get where we want to be.”
After Stones had played a prominent role in Everton’s Premier League run in, the 20-year old found himself traveling with the England squad to Portugal and Miami, together with another of Everton’s precocious talents, Ross Barkley.
And Stones is certain the methods put in place by Martinez have been crucial in the development of both players who, under the guidance of the Spaniard, have become ‘close friends’ both on and off the pitch.
“The trust the boss puts in his players and the belief that he wants you to go out and express yourself and play with freedom and without any weight on your shoulders or fear of doing anything wrong, brings the best out of players,” said Stones.
“It certainly has done for me and Ross [Barkley].”
“I’m sure you can see we are both really enjoying our football at Goodison and it has served us both really well because we have both played for England this summer. Hopefully we can keep fit, keep kicking on next season and keep playing well.”
“All me and Ross can think about now is playing well for our club. Because whatever happens as a result of doing well for your club is out of your hands.
“All we want to do is play well for Everton, hopefully progress in the Europa League and better ourselves in the Premier League.
“If we get called up for England, then that is great. But we have to concentrate on keeping fit and playing well for Everton.”
Stones thinks the freedom given to the players by the manager, enabling a passing style and fluid movement within the team will cause other teams to change their own style of play.
It is a philosophy instilled by Martinez and embraced by all the players, staff and supporters at Everton, and one which Stones believes will stand the Toffees in good stead as they prepare for a new Premier League season and in particular the upcoming Europa League campaign.
The Barnsley born defender believes Roberto Martinez’s idealist doctrine of aiming for perfection without fear, makes this Everton team a unique challenge to any opponent.
“We are our own unique team with a style of play that suits us. Going into the Europa League it will stand us in good stead when other teams are looking at us, because they will have to change their style of play to play against us,” said Stones.