Michael Owen believes there is only one player in the current England squad “who could walk into Barcelona’s team at the moment”.
Owen believes John Stones is worthy of playing for La Liga champions Barcelona, this despite the central defender enduring a difficult season with Everton.
Stones was the subject of a number of £40m bids from Chelsea last summer, and reportedly attracted interest from Barca, Manchester United and numerous other sides.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Owen says that he believes Stones is worthy of such links, and that the 22-year-old has an unnecessarily bad reputation.
“This kid could play for Barcelona,” Owen said. “He’s probably the only player in the England squad who could walk into Barcelona’s team at the moment.
“He’s absolutely brilliant. Get behind him, believe in him.”
“People just don’t realise that a lot of it is under control,” said Owen, who added that the negativity surrounding Stones is because he is “so much better than most other players”.
“He will make the odd mistake but so will everyone – everyone just goes on and on and on about mistakes,” Owen said.
“Eventually someone might start getting into his head and he might not be the player he should because of this negativity that surrounds our country so often.”