Former England midfielder Danny Murphy claims there will be something fishy going on if Everton’s John Stones is not a starting centre-back for his country at Euro 2016.
Stones impressed with a classy display at the heart of defence during England’s 2-0 friendly victory over France at Wembley on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old has also been floated as a possible contender to fill the right-back slot by Roy Hodgson, but Murphy has offered the England manager some colourful advice.
“Come the start of the Euros next year, I will be at the game and if John Stones isn’t starting I will gladly walk down and get Roy, [coaches] Ray Lewington and Gary Neville and slap them all with a wet fish because he is so far ahead of the other centre-halves in our country in terms of his ability to come out with the ball and pick a pass,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham player told TalkSport.
“He is just so comfortable. When you have got a centre-half who is good on the ball, able to go past someone, come out with the ball and see the bigger picture – as a midfielder and striker it frees up time for you and gives everyone more confidence in what you are trying to do.
“[Chris] Smalling, [Gary] Cahill, [Phil] Jagielka and [Phil] Jones are all good players, all very talented lads but, for me, they are competing for one spot. If Stones is fit, he starts.”
Murphy likened Stones’ style to that of Rio Ferdinand, but he fears England lack other similar talents to reach the performance levels of the former Manchester United great.
Murphy added: “I would say he is further on than Rio at the same age. I think he is the real deal and very much worth getting carried away about.
“There is no one else in that England squad that stands out that is going to be the next Rio, the next [Steven] Gerrard, the next Michael Owen. There are some good players but none are at his level in terms of potential.”