Baines tips Everton teammate Stones for the top

Everton left-back Leighton Baines believes John Stones has all the qualities necessary to reach the very highest level, the Daily Mail has reported.

Baines singled out Stones after the England international scored in the Toffees’ 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday, netting his first goal for the Merseyside club on the occasion of his 50th appearance. James McCarthy opened the scoring for Roberto Martinez’s side and Kevin Mirallas rounded it off either side of Stones’ first-half contribution.

Stones, part of an Everton defence that has kept four clean sheets in its last six games, signed in at Goodison Park from boyhood club Barnsley in January 2013, the last signing made by Martinez’s predecessor David Moyes.

Baines praised Stones for his maturity, after entering a performance of a calibre beyond his years against United, who included at various times Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and former Everton pair Wayne Rooney and Maroaune Fellaini.

“His composure for a lad of his age is unbelievable,’ Baines said of Stones, his colleague for club and country.

“He is a down-to-earth kid that he just wants to play football, work hard, he doesn’t get involved in anything else and when you are around people like that you just want to see them be successful – and that is the road that John is on at the moment.

Baines continued: “He is going to continue to grow and develop as a player and he is going to be a top player for Everton and England,’ said Baines, who has 30 England caps. He has got a huge future ahead of him at international level because not only is he a top-class defender but because of his composure as well. You need a bit of that at international level.

‘You need to be able to play and when you look at the young centre-halves around the country, John is the best in that respect.”

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