John Stones should consider himself unlucky not to have earned a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s latest England squad.
That is according to former Toffees favourite Phil Neville who believes that it’s Stones, rather than Burnley striker Danny Ings or QPR’s Charlie Austin, who should feel most aggrieved at missing out.
The Everton defender was instead included in Gareth Southgate’s under-21 squad and while Neville understood the reasons behind the move, he appeared adamant that Stones could make an impact for the senior side on a long-term basis.
“I think he is going to be an outstanding player,” he explained in an exclusive interview with Ladbrokes News.
“You can probably understand him getting more experience for the under-21s, he probably wouldn’t play with Nathaniel Clyne at right back but I think he’s been unlucky.
“The defence has probably been the area in which the England team needs to improve on.”
With Hodgson adopting more a long-term view to the national side in recent squads, with youngsters like Harry Kane getting the nod over more travelled players like Charlie Austin, Neville believes the Toffees stopper should also be involved.
“Stones is someone I think for the next eight to ten years is going to be a mainstay,” the former Manchester United defender said.
Neville urged the England manager to keep close tabs on Stones and eventually bed the player into his plans for the team over the next 12 months.
“He’s someone who by the summer or by Euro 2016 needs to be a permanent fixture of the squad and the team.”
Tottenham full-back and fellow England under-21 international Danny Rose did receive a call-up to the Three Lions squad for games against Lithuania and Italy.
Stones, meanwhile, will be aiming to impress for the junior side in games against the Czech Republic and Germany.
Phil Neville was speaking at the re-launch of football prediction platform Predikta, a football prediction game that connects you with your mates, colleagues and even ex-players.
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