Roberto Martinez is hopeful that defender John Stones will be able to climb out from his poor run and start to inspire the team in the rest of the campaign.
Stones was one of the talked about names in the summer after he was subjected to transfer interest from Chelsea. The Premier League champions were ready to play in excess of £ 30 million for the 21-year-old. This would have represented a massive profit on a £ 4 million investment for Everton, but they chose to retain him. This proved to be the right decision in the first half of the campaign whenStones was almost impenetrable.
This situation, however, changed dramatically in the second half whenStones’ was seen as a culprit for the club’s poor defensive record this season. The England star missed the entire month of February action. Now, he has been recalled back to the starting line-up and Martinez says that the timeout on the sidelines has helped Stones recover his energy. He expects much better performances from the youngster in the coming weeks. Everton still have a chance to qualify for the Europa League, but it has been moved to an outside chance. The club are just below the likes of Chelsea and West Brom in the league table.
“I thought when he came out he looked refreshed, he looked full of energy, like the player he looked like at the start of the season. I think he has come back with a real focus and a real intent of performing well and I think the second half performance, the back three had to do everything, defend, get on the ball and try to play forward and I thought it was an all-action performance. He reacted well and anticipated things very well,” said Martinez after the 2-0 loss against Arsenal.