Naismith: Stones should stay

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:17

Naismith: Stones should stay

The England international was subject of a £20m bid from Premier League champions Chelsea earlier this month, an offer which was swiftly rejected by Everton. 
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is yet to launch a revised bid for Stones, however Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez has already made it clear a second approach for the 21-year-old will not be welcomed. 
And Everton forward Naismith is hopeful Stones will resist the temptation of a move away and remain at Goodison Park for the long-term. 
“There’s no doubt about his quality and as a teammate and as a friend he is a fantastic man and a great prospect,” the Scotland international told Sky Sports News HQ.
“Everton is a fantastic club for him and they have shown in the past, even with the core group of youngsters that we have at the moment, that there is so much talent here.
“He is learning so fast and, in such a short period of time, he has come from a Barnsley team in the middle of the Championship to playing week in, week out for Everton. 
“There are not many young defenders that are as composed and read the game as well as he can. That’s why Everton went out and bought him when it was just young potential and they are reaping the rewards at the moment.”
Martinez led Everton to a fifth-place finish in his first season with the club during 2013/14 campaign, securing Europa League football as a result. 
The added burden of European competition, however, took its toll last season, with the Toffees slumping to an 11th place finish – their lowest in the top-flight for nine years. 
And Naismith insists he and his teammates must regain the form that took them within seven points of a top-four finish to stand any chance of avoiding a repeat of last season’s disappointment. 
“I think we just need to go back to what we were doing and make sure we have a lot of options for the man with the ball and take our chances,” the 28-year-old said. 
“We have a clinical team and have forwards who can score goals from nothing. We have some fantastic young players in the squad as well, so it’s about getting the best out of everybody, carrying that on and building up a bit of momentum.”
Naismith and Stones could come up against one another on the international stage following last week’s World Cup 2018 qualifying draw, which has pitted England and Scotland in Group F. 
The former Rangers forward, who featured for Scotland in last November’s 3-1 friendly defeat to England at Celtic Park, is relishing the opportunity to take on the Auld Enemy in a competitive encounter. 
“With England, it’s another two games. There have been two games with England over the past year, but now there are competitive games, which will be different matches altogether with so much more riding on it. We are definitely looking forward to it,” Naismith added. 
“The game at Celtic Park was a tricky one as we had just come off a fantastic result against Ireland. Everybody was on a high, all wanted to play and the manager stuck by the players that had played. 
“Maybe a few of us were a bit more fatigued than we thought and it didn’t help us in the game. So that was a bit disappointing, but we will definitely be ready for the competitive games when they come around.”

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