Paul Merson rants about John Stones on Soccer Saturday

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Football News

Chelsea submitted three big-money bids for John Stones in the summer, while Manchester United and Barcelona are also reportedly interested in securing the Everton defender’s signature.

But Paul Merson, the former Arsenal midfielder who now works as a pundit on Soccer Saturday, is not convinced by the 21-year-old.

He made that perfectly clear by launching into a surprise rant on Soccer Saturday earlier today. Merson questioned the youngster’s decision-making skills and lambasted his positional play, describing that particular aspect of his game as “atrocious”. Scroll down this page to watch Merson’s rant.


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“I want to see a centre-half who can defend, first of all,” Merson began. “He gets all the accolades because he’s the only [English defender] who can pass out.”

As a video of Stones dribbling inside his own penalty area was played, the Soccer Saturday panelist added: “It’s funny for us, but that’s not funny - it’s terrible. It’s shocking!

“If your manager don’t pull you after that and say ‘what are you doing?’

“If that was George Graham, he would have brought him off. He would have took him off! He would have said ‘you can’t do that’.

“I feel sorry for the kid, because I don’t think he’s learning. Forget about the passing, Jeff, his position play is bordering on atrocious at the moment. Atrocious.”

Merson didn’t stop there - and you can watch the rest of his rant by watching the embedded video below.

Video: Paul Merson's rant

Twitter reacts to Merson's rant

It turns out, however, that plenty on Twitter were in agreement with Merson on this occasions. Check out these tweets.

Rio Ferdinand defended Stones last month

Stones has demonstrated over the past two seasons that he possesses huge talent and will, even if can cut out the mistakes, become one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.

The Barnsley-born defender has been compared to Rio Ferdinand - and the Manchester United great is a huge fan.

In fact, Rio even decided to ring up a BBC football phone-in after hearing callers criticising Stones last month.

"I heard the caller earlier and it's typical of people in this country, 'oh he makes a mistake, he tries to do too many flash things’,” the BT Sport pundit was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "He's the best ball playing centre-half about at the moment. Give the kid a chance to play and to grow and to make mistakes.

"He's going 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, and you can build a team around this kind of kid.

"When I came through, 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, which I'm sure he has with Martinez, he'll become a better player, but you've got to stick with him.

"I think most Everton supporters are with him but you're getting the odd guy that comes on and says the rubbish that the geezer was talking about before."

Is John Stones the real deal or overrated? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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Paul Merson
Premier League
Manchester United

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