Roberto Martinez described Chelsea target John Stones’ display in Everton’s 0-0 Premier League draw at Tottenham as “immense”, believing the centre-half to be a future England captain.
The defender saw a transfer request rejected this week, with champions Chelsea thus far coming up short in their pursuit of the 21-year-old.
Stones’ clear desire to leave has attracted criticism from some Everton fans, but Martinez stood by his man.
“He was an immense influence on what we did defensively,” the Spaniard told Sky Sports.
“That understanding with Phil Jagielka is important. His composure on the ball, the reading of the game.
“All that pressure, that speculation, he’s taken it in an incredible way. Every single Evertonian will show that respect towards him because of how he has handled things.
“It shows the potential he has. He’s shown the signs of a future England captain.”
Everton – 5-3 extra-time winners over Barnsley in the League Cup on Wednesday – were second best for the most part at White Hart Lane and relied heavily on Tim Howard, who produced a man-of-the-match performance to deny the hosts a first win of the season.
Martinez added: “We had to find character. It’s about never giving in. In spells we looked like we didn’t have that sharpness in possession in the opposing half.
“Probably playing extra time in the game on Wednesday didn’t help and they looked fresher in that respect.
“Tim Howard was in an exceptional level of form, but as a team to come here and perform in the manner we did was very satisfying.”
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