In an exclusive interview on the latest episode of the Everton Show, the 21-year-old spoke with Darren Griffiths about how his early days at Barnsley prepared him for his eventual breakthrough in the top flight, how he had to patient to stake a claim for a first-team berth at Everton and some of the frustrations the team have been experiencing this season.
“[Coming into a lower league at a young age], you've got to learn how to deal with that (new situation) quickly because the guys around you aren't there to mess about,” Stones says of his time at Oakwell where he made his debut in the Football League as a raw teenager. “I had to learn fast and in a team that wasn't doing too well either.
“I think that's helped me out with (building) my character and mentally as well. All these things stand you in good stead.
“I was very lucky to be playing Championship football at such a young age. I only played a handful of games before moving to Everton … I thought I was ready but I found out that I wasn't ready for the first team at that stage. Looking back, I wouldn't have it [any other way].”
Asked if there was ever a time early in his Everton career where he wondered if he'd made a mistake joining the Blues, Stones was unequivocal in his response.
“Never,” he replied. “I knew the club was too good a club ever to leave. I knew it was the right decision, even though the manager went. I regretted not playing under David Moyes but it wasn't to be.
“And then the new gaffer came in and gave me my chance and I think around that time I was ready for it; when David Moyes was here I probably wasn't ready. That made it all the more enjoyable. Probably doing it the hard way made it all the more satisfying.”
Asked if he felt his first season in the Everton senior side under Roberto Martinez could have gone any better he said: “I think we all want more as human beings but I wouldn't have wanted my first season (in the first team) to be any different. I would have liked to have played more games but I respected that there was Jags and Big Syl [Distin] there that were unbelievable players and I couldn't compete with them at the time.”
The Toffees have struggled to meet expectations this season, particularly in the Premier League where they sit in the bottom half of the table with nine games to go.
Griffiths asked Stones if he agreed that the key word for the team this season has been “frustration”.
“Definitely,” the England international said. “We can all see a bit if frustration now and then. We're doing our best, as everyone knows, but sometimes things like this happen. We can all look back after the game and say this (or that) could have been different.
“I think it's a time where we should look at ourselves and ask, ‘what can I do in different in terms of how I'm playing and what time I spend on the pitch.' And as a team we need to grow from these experiences and learn fast because this is not the Everton way and we all know that.
“We want to get back winning and playing good football as we did, for ourselves and the fans because it's only what Everton deserve.”
Reader Comments (27)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
3 Posted 02/04/2016 at 00:43:58
Smash the Euros then come back to the Blues and show the world that we have world class talent at this club and we are ready to kick on.
5 Posted 02/04/2016 at 07:35:24
6 Posted 02/04/2016 at 07:36:39
Unfortunately, we keep coming back to the set up and style we play; as most posters say, this is down to one man.
I feel so frustrated that supporters here and comments on leaving the match are about the same... but the top people do nothing. Moving the chairs as she sinks will not help this club and I for one am sick and tired reading how underperforming we are yet nothing changes and worse, nothing looks like it will change.
7 Posted 02/04/2016 at 08:38:49
In my many years watching and following EFC, three centre backs have stood out in my favourite list of players and John Stones is one of them. I know he probably won't be here next season but I for one will be sad to see him in another club's shirt.
12 Posted 02/04/2016 at 10:25:08
13 Posted 02/04/2016 at 11:05:41
At the end of the day, all this stuff which gets spouted and quoted is with full diplomacy, the club obviously will only be positive and we, the fans, are purely speculating trying to read between the lines whatever. We don't really know what is going on in our players' minds as far as Martinez is concerned but the talking on the pitch is quite depressing most of the time.
Whatever Martinez believes, the players themselves have to believe, and have to continue to believe while they go through the learning curve, even if things are proving challenging. We have all had to knuckle down at some time and get on through thick and thin to emerge (hopefully) successful. The key to emerging successful is having the belief.
If our players truly do believe in the 'big plan' then we could be on the point of breaking through.
The question I continue to ask myself is: Do I believe that the players have that belief in the plan? The way they talk (Rom excepted because, for all his talents, his plan is "me, myself, I"), you'd think they did but the way they perform tells me otherwise.
I am firmly in the 'Martinez Out' camp right now but would love, dearly love, to see the turnaround, hold my hands up, and say I was wrong. That's the optimist in me, I guess... but everything that is going on right now is such a bag of mixed messages that I am becoming brain-numb over it.
But this is Everton, I suppose, and I just have to keep believing.
14 Posted 02/04/2016 at 12:28:37
I suppose once you move to one of their preferred teams the criticism will stop. The same goes for Ross, Everton (English) players just aren't deemed good enough for international or European football by the media.
15 Posted 02/04/2016 at 12:41:24
He needs to learn the basics of defending and stop showboating. A season with John Terry may have cured him of some of this, but we have not got a John Terry at the club. Jags is too nice, Martinez hasn't a clue about defense.
The players have lost confidence in Martinez, like most of the fans. The club are brilliant at PR etc... and telling us about our history. Let's stick another flag up to Dixie or Alan Ball. However, when I walk past Stanley Park and see our neighbours building a new stand, having a competent manager in Klopp, and generally getting their act together then I have a reality check.
Martinez is not capable of keeping Stonesy's feet on the ground as he is a dreamer and bullshitter himself. Due to his bad management, tactics and Premier League record, he has to talk about the next 12 games etc...because he cannot talk about his last 12 games.
In order to keep our best players, we need an experienced competent manager who doesn't 'Over-promise and under-deliver'.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum....
16 Posted 02/04/2016 at 13:17:01
I hope you get a better press in your next club, John.
17 Posted 02/04/2016 at 13:26:01
18 Posted 02/04/2016 at 13:31:23
I also hope we can get the maximum amount possible for him and Lukaku £120m? It's the least we deserve.
20 Posted 02/04/2016 at 13:41:23
He is still on the same contract as he was before Chelsea made all those bids for him, why haven't Everton offered him a newer and longer deal?
21 Posted 02/04/2016 at 13:48:36
22 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:00:08
23 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:02:15
In a few recent posts, I have tried to open the debate on why the media are anti-Everton. The response has not been good. I have been accused of being paranoid; perhaps I am, but I genuinely sense something behind the scenes.
Is it a reverse of the pro-Liverpool coin? I wonder....
At a more paranoid, conspiracy-theory level, I am fascinated why the media have kept relatively quiet about the performance of Roberto this (and last) season, and contrary to how active they were in putting pressure on Liverpool to get rid of Rodgers? I suspect they are quietly waiting (and wanting?) to see Everton in the Championship, out of sight and out of mind.
It could be that, if Roberto is with us next season, then that could happen and they get their wish...
24 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:04:05
25 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:26:21
Now add to that the vast majority of pundits and ex-pros who write for the rags or who are constantly on the box and radio eg Thommo, Owen, Souness, Carra, Aldridge, Barnes, McAteer, Mellor, Redknapp ad infinitum..... All ex-Liverpool with an agenda. Plus the likes of Jason Cundy, Tony Cascarino (Chelsea), Henry, Dixon, Nichols (Arsenal)............
I won't go on as the list is too long but these are some of the people who set the narrative as they want to protect their teams and maintain the status quo. Everton are looked on as outsiders and not a glamorous alternative to our neighbours.
It's also a lot to do with marketing. The media darlings push market shares, sell merchandise, increase cash flows etc... If you were Rupert Murdoch or Richard Scudamore, wouldn't you want the likes of Liverpool, the Manchester and London clubs to maintain their dominance?
It's not a conspiracy theory, it's just a FAKHT!!
26 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:31:03
Lukaku, on the other hand, is still very much in the shop window.
27 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:32:21
As far as the dodgy passes that Stones made are concerned, he was playing for England, do you not think Hodgson would have told John how he wanted him to play?
It's not a case of keeping his feet on the ground, if a top club waves a contract under your nose worth 3 or 4 times what your currently paid and promises you much more exposure, you'd be hard pressed to say no.
It's a relatively short career; money has to be the main consideration.
28 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:34:59
It's not exactly impartial... but it stands to reason that the most popular clubs have the most popular players who eventually become the most popular pundits.
What does not stand to reason is the amount of ex-Liverpool pundits compared to everyone else. I mean, it's fucking laughable. Whether they are playing or not, you can bet your bottom dollar that on any game on any network there will be at least one ex-Liverpool player as part of the panel.
29 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:42:48
30 Posted 02/04/2016 at 15:54:17
I fully support that initiative
Phil Sammon - Evertonian,18" penis, shameless liar.
32 Posted 02/04/2016 at 17:31:08
What I don't accept is the (presumably neutral) BBC who are more pro-Liverpool than any of the other channels or daily rags combined. Now why is that? Especially as its 25 years + since they won the Championship and half their supporters are Scandinavian... (and don't ask me why that is either!).
33 Posted 02/04/2016 at 18:10:23
I have to say Carra, Owen and McManaman tend to be more neutral as they were Blues as kids and happened to play for the Reds. They probably have mates who are Blues too.
The likes of Thommo and Murphy are totally in the red camp. They all tend to think that Martinez needs more time (I wonder why?).
I personally wanted Rogers to be given more time for the same reasons. Unfortunately, these pundits and reporters will never ask any of the questions we would pose to the Manager as they do not want to upset the apple cart and offend the club.
34 Posted 02/04/2016 at 18:49:40
We seem to be a club that just collectively, the Chelsea Cup game aside, have a total malaise around us. Comparing a relatively average Liverpool team to us, they still seem capable of conjuring up more unexpected results and there seems to be more tempo and passion to their play even when they are limited.
I watch us and I just look at several players and I ask myself "What do you do or you do?"
We keep hearing of this great talent but in terms of having a say in big games, have they done it regularly? No, they haven't.
There's only Lukaku who has turned big games in our favour this season, none of the others have lived up to it.
Do I think an Everton player is going to step up and be a hero in this next huge month? Probably not; if there was one, it would be Lukaku but, after his recently poorly timed comments, you do worry where his head is going to be at.
35 Posted 03/04/2016 at 00:32:14
And to add insult to injury, he also said that Jags should have been stronger when the Dutch lad flattened him in the back, which led to their winner. Anti-Everton or what? They have a job to do, I appreciate that... but for god's sake, why make it bleeding obvious he doesn't like Everton, as do a lot of pundits? In my opinion,Stones will get back to his best and shut that dickhead up.
36 Posted 03/04/2016 at 01:01:21
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.