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Sunday 23 July 2017

Roberto Martinez tips John Stones to lead England after solid game at Tottenham

John Stones was hailed as a future England captain after his commanding display at White Hart Lane
John Stones was hailed as a future England captain after his commanding display at White Hart Lane

Roberto Martinez acclaimed John Stones as a future England captain after watching him help Everton secure a point from their Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham.

Stones, along with outstanding goalkeeper Tim Howard, was central in a rousing defensive display that saw the Toffees leave White Hart Lane with a 0-0 draw.

Everton have rejected a £38million bid from Chelsea for the 21-year-old and Martinez is delighted with the way he has dealt with being under the spotlight.

"Once more, John was always in control. He's an incredible defender, the way he reads the game and anticipates play," the Toffees boss said.

"He shows incredible composure and you would never say he's only 21 years old. He was under a lot of pressure, so his performance was that of someone who has the potential to become an England captain.

"We have our own ambitions and project, and John is a big part of that. He showed a really strong face against Tottenham.

"Absolutely he accepts he is an Everton player. We want to be a winning team and John is a big part of that. John has never let the fans or the club down and has played with incredible discipline."

Howard was instrumental in holding a dominant Tottenham side to a draw with high-class saves that denied Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Toby Alderweireld in the first half.

"Tim was immense, not just with his actions, but he was talking and had good communication with the back four," Martinez said.

"Tim is a leader and an incredible influence in the dressing room. On the pitch he's enjoying his football, so I wasn't surprised by the way he played at all.

"I'm more than happy with the draw because we had to show a lot of character and personality."

Midfielder Tom Cleverley was carried off on a stretcher with his right leg in a boot after his ankle was trapped awkwardly during a tackle by Eric Dier, but Martinez revealed the injury is not as bad as first feared.

"We'll assess him over the next 24 hours. Straight away we thought it was ligament damage plus something else," the Spaniard said.

"It was a big worry, but we feel quite confident now that it was just ligament damage. It was a really strong challenge and it shows how fit he is to escape that incident with just ligament damage."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is not concerned about Kane's inability to score in the opening four matches of the season and after watching him miss two more chances against Everton.

"I was happy with Harry," the Argentinian said. "His performance was good. For a striker, it's important to score, but it was difficult against Everton.

"I'm not worried about Harry. I'm sure that over the next few weeks he'll score. We don't need to speak about it too much - we don't want to put more pressure on him."

Mousa Dembele has a foot injury and an update on the extent of the damage is expected on Monday.

Press Association

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