Tuesday 20 March 2018

Everton defender John Stones faces Barnsley after handing in transfer request

John Stones' transfer request leaves Everton in a difficult position
John Stones' transfer request leaves Everton in a difficult position

Wantaway Everton defender John Stones was named in the starting line-up for the Capital One Cup tie at Barnsley just 24 hours after handing in a transfer request.

The 21-year-old has been the subject of three bids from Chelsea, all rejected by the Toffees who insist he is not for sale.

On Tuesday Stones took matters into his own hands by telling the club he wanted the opportunity to leave but that has not tainted manager Roberto Martinez's view of the centre-back.

Stones, as one of only two senior centre-backs, was picked alongside captain Phil Jagielka.

The club have not commented on their response to Stones' transfer request but it seems evident from Martinez's selection they are not inclined to acquiesce at this stage, having resisted in the strongest possible terms so far.

However, they still face a battle to hang on to the England international as he now has his heart set on a move to Stamford Bridge to link up with Jose Mourinho and play Champions League football.

Martinez said Stones was included in the starting line-up because he plays a vital role in his defensive pairing with Phil Jagielka.

"I think what's important is that these games we need to be well-balanced, fresh and get the right combination, and a partnership in the centre-half position is vital for us," he told Sky Sports.

"Phil Jagielka and John Stones are really, really important in being able to have a good performance.

"We wanted to have this sort of a squad. The numbers that we have in the group now allow us some competition for places and we're going to have nine full internationals in the starting line-up, which gives you a little bit of an idea of the strength of our squad.

"Clearly John and Phil are a big part of that line-up."

Press Association

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