sport

Stones made right choice

John Stones is delighted to be working with Roberto Martinez at Everton, having previously snubbed a switch to Wigan Athletic.

In January 2013, numerous Premier League clubs were chasing the signature of a teenage defender making quite a name for himself at Barnsley.

Wigan were the first to make their move, with then boss Martinez tabling a bid which was deemed acceptable by the Tykes.

He was, however, to be left empty-handed as Everton joined the chase and lured Stones to Merseyside.

The 19-year-old could have been forgiven for wondering whether he would be given the cold shoulder when Martinez turned up at Goodison Park last summer, but the pair have enjoyed a productive working relationship which has the Toffees pushing for a top-four finish and Stones knocking on the door of a first senior call-up with England.

He said in the Daily Express: "I was driving up to Wigan while my agents were there as I had been at training at Barnsley in the morning.

"I got the call to say the bid had been accepted, then later on I had another call to say that Everton had also had a bid accepted.

"It was a decision for my career. Everton was the right move for me. I let Roberto know and he accepted it.

"I remember having to go into his office on the first day. It was a strange feeling being at Everton, yet having him as my manager.

"He said: 'We are together now, we are at the same club, so let's move forward from here.' It was a good feeling.

"I wanted to work with him, though, and it's good that it has worked out for the both of us."

While Stones has flourished under Martinez, it was David Moyes who took a 2.25m gamble on his services and the youngster will be forever grateful to the Scot for offering him a step up into the big time.

Ahead of a reunion with Moyes on Sunday as Everton prepare to host Manchester United, Stones said: "I'll always thank him and his staff for what they've done for me.

"But at the end of the day we're playing against his team, he's playing against our team and we'll want to win. It's as simple as that.

"Off the pitch we'll congratulate each other, or whatever, and I'll thank him for what he's done for me."