Stones told he must ‘cut out mis­takes’

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL - By Ja­son Burt

Roy Hodg­son has warned John Stones that he needs to “cut out” the mis­takes that have cost him his start­ing place at Everton in re­cent weeks and put in doubt his prospects of be­ing in the Eng­land team for Euro 2016.

Stones will start along­side club team-mate Phil Jagielka against Holland, win­ning his eighth cap, to­mor­row at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium as the Eng­land man­ager plans to field a vastly dif­fer­ent line-up to the one that achieved such an im­pres­sive 32 friendly vic­tory away to Ger­many on Satur­day.

At the start of this sea­son Stones and Chris Smalling were be­ing touted as Eng­land’s most likely first-choice cen­tral de­fence pair­ing at the fi­nals in France but that has been ques­tioned given the form of the 21-year-old and, also, the way he has been han­dled by Everton man­ager Roberto Martínez.

In­deed Stones has not played 90 min­utes for Everton since Jan 24 and has ei­ther been a sub­sti­tute, or been sub­sti­tuted, in a strug­gling side with the fit-again Jagielka part­ner­ing Ramiro Funes Mori in cen­tral de­fence.

“We be­lieve in John Stones. He will get a chance on Tues­day,” Hodg­son said. “We think he is the type of cen­tre-half who can be good for Eng­land go­ing for­ward but to use him he has to play well enough to break into his club side as his first task. Then he has to be so good with us that we con­sider mov­ing the two we had [against Ger­many – Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill] and Phil Jagielka. He is a very tal­ented player. We need to keep en­cour­ag­ing him.”

What­ever his role Stones will def­i­nitely be in Eng­land’s 23-man squad for France. Hodg­son said: “He is com­fort­able, com­posed and look how good he is bring­ing the ball out and then he makes a cou­ple of mis­takes and we want to put it back on his head.

“He needs to un­der­stand that as a cen­tre-half at a top club you can’t make lot of mis­takes. But you don’t have to change your game and start boot­ing the ball up the field ev­ery time. It just means you have to im­prove all the time and cut out some of the mis­takes.”

Hodg­son will make the whole­sale changes he promised for the game against Holland with the big ques­tion mark be­ing who will play at left-back.

Af­ter the with­drawal of Ryan Ber­trand, Hodg­son has only Danny Rose in his squad and al­though the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur de­fender, who made his de­but against Ger­many, may start against the Dutch, he is un­likely to play more than 45 min­utes. If he does that may not go down too well with Spurs. Hodg­son is, there­fore, con­sid­er­ing call­ing up an­other left-back.

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