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Friday 9 December 2016

Roberto Martinez: John Stones 'didn't mean to' hand in his transfer request

John Stones
John Stones

Roberto Martinez has suggested Everton defender John Stones did not personally want to lodge the transfer request that the Toffees rejected.

England international Stones is understood to have been the subject of four bids by English Premier League champions Chelsea during this window, yet Everton have remained resolute in their desire to keep the 21-year-old at Goodison Park.

That stance was not even altered when Stones formally asked for a move to be granted - a request his chairman Bill Kenwright publicly rejected on Thursday - and Martinez selected him in his back four for the stalemate with Tottenham on Saturday.

Martinez has praised Stones' attitude in dealing with this saga throughout and hinted the decision to hand in a transfer request was not the defender's choice.

"He's such a professional," the Everton boss said. "I had other situations where I had players who couldn't cope and couldn't play. I had windows where I had to leave players out completely and when the window closed get him back in the team and what that represents - winning his team-mates over and the fans over.

"With John, it's very easy because he's a pristine professional. Obviously he's been put under massive, massive pressure. The transfer request was something he didn't mean to do."

Asked if Stones had expressed regret to him over the transfer request, Martinez added: "No, no, no. We haven't spoken about that. All we've been speaking about is the game and what we need to do. He's been a leader in that."

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