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Euro 2016: John Stones Too Error Prone To Start For England, Says Sol Campbell

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Ex-England player Sol Campbell reiterated that Everton centre-back John stones makes too many mistakes to be given a starting role in the upcoming Euro 2016 campaign in France this summer.

Football critics are of the opinion that England manager Roy Hodgson will prefer Manchester United defender Chris smalling in a central defending role with either Everton’s John Stones or the more experienced Garry Cahil of Chelsea as his partner, to hold things at the back.

John stones had been included in the 26-member provisional squad announced by Hodgson and it is widely believed that the Everton defender will be included in the 23-member squad due to be announced on Tuesday.

The former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell who played in 71 international matches for England and was also included in the FIFA team of the tournament after the 2002 world cup. Campbell said that he would pick Man Utd’s Chris Smalling and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill as they had much more experience to handle crunch situations.

“I personally would go for Smalling and Cahill. I would go for the experience of those two guys,” said former Arsenal defender Cambell.

“For me, something drastic would have to happen for Stones to start. You start with your most solid back four and go from there,” he added.

Everton defender Stones was under the radar of many top-notch European clubs willing to secure his services last year. Reports suggest that Barcelona has prepared £25 million bid for Stones this summer. However the recent dip in his form, lack of consistency and a couple of  blunders in Everton’s disappointing campaign this premier league this season, have raised some doubts about his capability in preforming well in high profile international tournaments.

john stones

“If you keep making mistakes at international level, you’re going to suffer because one mistake in a tournament and you can be out,” Campbell said.

“If you make mistakes at a domestic level, you have more time to learn. He is learning.

“He just has to understand there are moments to play the ball and moments to keep hold of the ball. He just needs to find that balance.

Smalling, Stones, and Cahill are the only recognised centre-backs with Spurs’ Eric Dier playing predominantly as a holding midfielder and it is this unwillingness to play in defence that Campbell believes is a growing problem in football.

With Jamie Vardy, Hary Kane, Wayne Rooney and Sturridge in the squad, England looks a formidable attacking power. But the lack of a rock solid defensive power at the back can be the main concern for Roy Hodgson in the upcoming Eruo Championships in France.

Chris Smalling, John Stones and Gary Cahill at the back are the only well known centre-backs for England and with the Euro Campaign knocking at the door it would be interesting to see how Hodgson sets up the England defense.

The only other option left at the back is Spur’s Eric Dier who prefers to play in the middle. Sol Campbell stressed that players unwilling to play at the back is a huge problem for football playing nations.


“Football has changed, players want to go forward all the time,” he said.

“There are so many attacking midfielders. Then there are centre backs who want to be defensive midfielders and full-backs that secretly want to be wingers.

“When I played I didn’t mind right-back and left-back going forward but one would stay and one would go. Now they both go. What is going on?” he concluded.

Anirban Das
Anirban Das's journey to Delhi via Kolkata involves football, music, curiosity (which one day can kill the cat) and food. Following global football opens up an infinite space within him in both the conscious and subconscious self, away from the din and bustle of the madding crowd. Supports Manchester United & Barcelona

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