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Stones inspired by Barkley rise

Everton's John Stones is taking inspiration from the progress of Ross Barkley as he bids to establish himself on the big stage.

Last Updated: 04/09/13 at 17:44 Post Comment   

Ross Barkley: Shining for Everton's first team

Ross Barkley: Shining for Everton's first team

Everton youngster John Stones is taking inspiration from the progress of Ross Barkley as he bids to establish himself on the big stage.

England Under-21 defender Stones made his Everton debut in last week's Capital One Cup defeat of League One Stevenage at Goodison Park.

He played in the same side as fellow 19-year-old Barkley, the dynamic midfielder whose superb start to the campaign has been immediately rewarded with a call-up to the full England squad.

Stones said: "Of course it is a big inspiration for me when Ross is making the first team and getting picked for England.

"He is hitting the ground running for Everton. I really want to do the same as Ross.

"I am always trying to push for a first-team position, as is everyone in the dressing room. It is healthy competition.

"I want to cement a spot in the first team, to keep pushing as hard as I can all season until I get there. That is my big aim."

Stones joined Everton from League One Barnsley on transfer deadline day in January.

He had looked on course for a move to Roberto Martinez's Wigan until the Toffees entered the bidding at a late stage.

As events have transpired, Stones has ended up playing for Martinez anyway following the Spaniard's move from Wigan to Everton in the summer.

Martinez showed faith in Stones during the pre-season tour of the United States and the teenager now wants to build on those positive experiences.

Stones said: "To get that first game in pre-season was a big help for me, getting on and playing against Juventus, and then the likes of Real Madrid and Valencia.

"It was a great experience for me and made me feel like I had hit the ground running.

"Coming into such a big dressing room, the lads have taken to me so well and I am so thankful for that. Hopefully I can get a few more games now."

Stones, who is in the England Under-21 squad this week for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Moldova and Finland, believes he has an ideal environment to learn his trade at Everton.

He sees the experienced centre-back pair of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin as particularly strong role models.

He said: "Jags and Sylvain have been great leaders for me.

"I have learnt so much from them in training and in the games I have played pre-season.

"You just pick up little things every game and hopefully I can keep improving off them week in, week out.

"I feel like one of the family here now. It's good. I'm loving every minute of it."


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