Boss Roberto Martinez feels Everton defender John Stones is mentally resilient and can deal with any criticism coming his way.
The 21-year-old has been on the end of some stinging comments recently after a perceived dip in form.
Stones’ slack backpass was a major contributing factor in the penalty that helped Swansea win at Goodison Park in the league, while he was subbed off in the Capital One Cup semi-final exit at Manchester City and then rested for the FA Cup win over Carlisle.
Martinez has poured cold water on any suggestions he has lost faith in Stones and says the youngster has already made a massive contribution to the Toffees’ cause this season.
“You are talking about a player of 21 who has played over 92 per cent of the minutes in the league, which is a phenomenal return,” Martinez said.
“When you reach the level of John Stones you are going to get that scrutiny and John is strong enough mentally to understand that is going to be his role in professional football and representing England for the next 15-20 years.”
Stones is expected to earn a recall when Everton host Newcastle in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.
After a summer of speculation linking him with a move away from Everton, Martinez says it is important that Stones recognises which advice he should be taking on board.
“John is such a strong-minded boy and has been through a lot over the last eight months but has done it professionally,”
said the Spaniard. “In those moments you need to know who you can trust and you need fair criticism and fair evaluation of your performance.”
Everton are 1.67 to beat Newcastle at Goodison, with Steve McClaren’s side 5.00 for the win and the draw is available at 4.00.