Martinez: Stones is going from strength to strength

Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels that key defender John Stones is going from strength to strength following a turbulent summer transfer window that saw Chelsea publically trying to sign the player.

Martinez feels that Stones has taken it all in his stride and the experience will help him to become a better player in the long term.

“It’s fair to say John is going from strength to strength,” declared Martinez. “Every opportunity he has to face a challenge, he faces it straight on and becomes a better player at the end of it.

“I was really pleased in the manner that the fans reacted towards John.

“In the dressing room and at the football club, he has always had tremendous support. John as an individual has benefitted from a difficult period with a lot of pressure. He’s been able to find a way to perform on the pitch no matter what was going on around him.

“He always performed in the best possible way for Everton and that’s going to help him for the rest of his career. If he can get through that, he can get through anything really. The support of the players has been key towards it and maybe it has made the group stronger.”

“I wouldn’t say from that point of view,” replied Martinez. “It adds an extra edge because they are the current champions and a team that we need to test ourselves against.

“Last season we were left with a really angry feeling at the end [of the game at Stamford Bridge] with the sending off of Gareth Barry and then conceding so late in very close game, in which we probably had the two best chances. It’s something that you want to get rid of. You get rid of that by playing and performing in front of our crowd.”

Do you think Stones will improve as a player mentally because of this summer?

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