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John Stones stutters as Everton are forced to go the extra mile in Barnsley Capital One Cup clash

By Staff Reporter

Published 27/08/2015

Farewell? John Stones waves to the Everton fans last night
Farewell? John Stones waves to the Everton fans last night

John Stones started for Everton just one day after submitting a transfer request but was part of a side which was given an almighty Capital One Cup scare at League One side Barnsley, the visitors winning in extra time.

The 21-year-old retained his place in the team at Oakwell despite 24 hours earlier telling the club he wants to leave after Chelsea had three bids rejected - but Everton are set to turn down the request.

Stones wants to play in the Champions League under Jose Mourinho, who is thought to be preparing a final £40m bid.

Labouring to a 5-3 extra-time League Cup win over a team two tiers below will not come close to matching his aspirations.

That is not to say the England international was not entirely without his share of the blame; he jumped over Sam Winnall's shot for the opener and then appeared to be half-asleep in allowing Marley Watkins to nip past him in a crowded penalty area and poke home with just 28 minutes gone.

Three second-half goals from Kevin Mirallas, Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku, to the one of Dan Crowley, took the tie into extra-time, decided by Marc Roberts' own goal and Lukaku's second.

An early exit for a third successive season - manager Roberto Martinez has yet to get Everton past the third round in this competition - would have added another level of external pressure to the internal strife he is suffering from transfer requests.

Stones' reputation as a model professional convinced the Spaniard he was safe to play the defender but that decision was questionable after a tumultuous 24 hours for the youngster.

He initially blocked Winnall's attempt at the near post, but the loose ball fell back to the attacker, and Stones failed to block the shot. Watkins then caught Stones napping to bundle home after Joel Robles failed to claim Josh Scowen's far-post cut-back.

A second-half Mirallas volley and Naismith header were followed by Crowley's strike and Lukaku made it 3-3 courtesy of Gerard Deulofeu. His introduction proved a game-changer as his cross was turned in by Roberts before Lukaku made the game safe.

But if Everton defend this badly with Stones in the side, the prospect of losing him without a replacement in position will be a worrying one for Martinez.

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Belfast Telegraph

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