John Stones has emerged as the best English defender in recent times with Manchester City, but it has not always been plain sailing for the former Barnsley man.
The defender is primarily known for his ability to pass the ball from the back, but sometimes he is prone to taking too many risks, with his team suffering as a result.
He was taking a lot of flack for that during his Everton days with the media pouncing on his errors.
But a number of pundits leapt to his defence, including Michael Owen, stating in 2016 that he was only criticised so much because 'he is so much better than most other players.'
"He's probably the only player in the England squad who could walk into Barcelona's team at the moment. He's absolutely brilliant. Get behind him, believe in him," Owen told BBC Sport.
"Some of the negativity surrounding Stones was because he is so much better than most other players."
RIO FERDINAND ALSO DEFENDED HIM... LIVE ON RADIO
Rio Ferdinand is another who took exception to those that were heckling the defender.
After Everton lost 4-3 to Stoke in December 2015, Stones was being criticised for his role. An Everton fan even called into BBC's '606' radio phone-in, blaming him for the defeat.
So what did Rio do?
Well, he was clearly not happy. In fact, he was so unhappy, that he rang up the radio show to dismiss the 'rubbish' claims that the Everton fan had made.
"He's the best ball-playing centre-half about at the moment," Rio stated.
"I heard the caller earlier and it's just typical of people in this country – 'oh he's made a mistake, he tries to do too many flash things'. Give the kid a chance to play and to grow and to make mistakes.
"You've got to make mistakes as a young kid, allow him to do that. Because potentially he could go and play for Barcelona, Real Madrid, the top clubs in this country, and be the captain of England.
"You can build a team around this kind of kid.
"When I came through, [then-manager of West Ham] Harry Redknapp used to say to me: 'Make mistakes, don't worry. But don't make the same ones all the time'.
"If John Stones has got that, as I'm sure he has with [Everton manager Roberto] Martinez, he'll become a better player. But you've got to stick with him.
"I think most Everton supporters are going to stick with him but you get the odd guy who comes on and says the rubbish that the geezer was talking about before."
You can hear the full clip here:
That's just fantastic from Rio. He clearly knew what he was talking about - just six months later Stones would make the £47.5 million move to Manchester City, and he has since thrived under Pep Guardiola's guidance.News Now - Sport News