There is an age old belief within football circles that you cannot win anything with a side dependant on youngsters, yet me being the firm believer in youth development that I am, I cannot help but hope that the young stars of the future on display at the 2016 UEFA European Championships take this opportunity that fate has afforded them to make the world of football sit up and truly appreciate the magnificence that these wunderkinds have been created to grace us with. A plethora of talented players will be keen to showcase their talent in the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship; we at GSV would like to hone our binoculars in on the u/23 players that will be looking to etch their mark on the global game, without further ado, we present to you the UEFA EURO 2016 Young Guns To Watch. Prendre plaisir!
DoB: May 28th, 1994 (22)
PoB: Barnsley, England
Position/s: Fullback, Wingback, Ball-Playing Defender, Stopper Defender, Cover Defender (Right/Centre)
Height: 1, 88m
Club: Everton Football Club
Club Career Record: 135 Games, 2 Goals, 1 Assist
National Team Record: 10 Caps
The Grand Stand View
Good ball-playing defenders have become the cherry on top that most football managers seek to add when they assemble a side; modern football has reaffirmed that long beheld notion, a defender that can orchestrate attacking moves from the back, or break out of the line with the ball at his feet, remains pivotal to any side that has the intention of playing on the front foot. John Stones has earned rave reviews over the last couple of seasons from many quarters, the gifted young defender has looked every bit the hot prospect he’s being tipped to be, despite some errors that can only aid in his development.
A physically imposing footballer who is very mobile despite his lankier frame, John Stones fuses an all-action approach to defensive duties with impeccable positioning on the field, and a helping of timing in the tackle to make for a defender who can win the ball, and distribute it as well. While he is still growing into his own at the elite level, John has already shown that despite his great offensive skills, the ability and desire to defend first are there and ready to be displayed in abundance. England will want to play a more adventurous game as their current crop of gifted young players begins to hone their niche in the world of football, Stones will be central to any hopes they may have of adopting a more Continental modern-age playing style.
England have the luxury of being blessed with quality footballers in each position, to have a player like John Stones possibly coming in off the bench more than he starts is a testament to the depth of talent within the national pool. Having a quality player like Stones to bring on is something England will treasure in those tight games where one needs to defend a bit harder, while making the most use of any possession one may have to see the result through. While John Stones may not be a guaranteed starter at EURO 2016, the lad will be looking to use this opportunity as part of his learning curve as he continues to develop into one of the finest footballers of his generation.