John Stones must focus on his positioning if he is selected to start by Roy Hodgson at Euro 2016, according to former England defender Sol Campbell.
Campbell, who won 73 caps for his country, became the first England player to appear at six consecutive international tournaments, featuring in every major competition from Euro ’96 to the 2006 World Cup.
Although an admirer of Stones’ ability, the former Arsenal centre-back believes the 22-year-old needs to address certain aspects of his game if he is to succeed with the national team.
“He’s got fantastic potential to be a world-class defender. But he needs to play on a regular basis for England to show how he can handle it,” said Campbell.
“He’s got to get his positioning sense sorted out, where he stands on the pitch in certain moments. It’s not to do with the ball, it’s where you stand when clever forwards are around you. That’s where he has to learn very quickly.
“Especially in tournament football you get exposed. Sometimes you’re left by yourself and you’ve got to be able to stand in the right position.
“There are moments when you don’t have anyone around you and it’s a one-v-one scenario. That’s where he’s got to get better at, where he stands when the opposition are attacking.”
According to Campbell, Stones’ style suits the modern game, with the Everton defender vying with Gary Cahill to partner Chris Smalling at Euro 2016.
“He’s got all the credentials of being a wonderful player. You’ve got to be able to push past the centre forwards, pass it out and start the ball rolling. That’s the modern game. I don’t know how long Everton can keep him.”
Regardless of who Hodgson picks at the centre of his defence, Campbell says the manager must show faith in his players once the decision has been made.
“It’s all about personnel now. He has to work out very quickly who’s going to be the centre-halves and go with that,” he said.
“Too much chopping and changing isn’t going to do anyone any favours. Get them playing and get into the groove. You haven’t got time to chop and change, if it doesn’t work stick with it and believe in your team.”
Sol Campbell was speaking at the William Hill Euro 2016 preview evening.