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Stones Happy To Step Up


John Stones admitted it was a Premier League baptism of fire being pitted against the giant Peter Crouch in Everton’s draw at Stoke City.

Eleven months after joining from Barnsley, the 19-year-old defender was handed his first top-flight start by manager Roberto Martinez who was without the injured Sylvain Distin for the trip to the Britannia Stadium.

Stones handled the occasion – and the 6ft 7in striker – excellently as the Blues kicked-off 2014 with a hard-earned point.

Speaking to evertontv in the aftermath, Stones said: “It has been a long time coming. It was such a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Peter Crouch is a lot taller than I thought. I’m not too short but he made me look small. He’s a great striker and they have a good team but I thought we dealt well with them.

“We have a lot of experienced pros and I can’t thank them enough for helping me through it. I learnt a lot off the defenders and central players. They gave me a lot of hints and it was good for me.”

Martinez was also unable to call upon hamstrung skipper Phil Jagielka, meaning Stones formed a new centre-half pairing alongside Antolin Alcaraz.

Despite the lack of minutes together in competitive action, Stones revealed that the duo had already forged an on-the-pitch understanding through their work together at Finch Farm. 

“We’ve worked on it in training quite a lot so it’s just the same,” he said. “We know how each other work and I thought we coped well today.”

Stones and Alcaraz could play together again when Queens Park Rangers visit Goodison Park in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The England Under-21s man is hopeful of another opportunity against the Championship side.

He continued: “I just need to take my chance now and embrace it. I want to give the manager a problem to choose his side when Jags is back fit. That’s all I can do really.

“It’s nice to hear the faith the manager puts in me. It puts a lot of confidence into us and playing against Stoke was a special moment.”

Watch Everton face QPR in the FA Cup this weekend. Book your tickets now by clicking here, calling 0871 663 1878 or visiting the Box Office, Everton Two or the TicketQuarter.

To watch the game in style click here for details of the various corporate hospitality packages available.

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