Martinez and Howard hail Stones
Roberto Martinez and Tim Howard have said they believe Everton defender John Stones' pre-season performances have shown he is ready to step up to the Premier League.
Stones, 19, has yet to play a competitive game for the club he joined from Barnsley in January.
But the centre-back capped a composed performance against Juventus in the pre-season International Champions Cup in San Francisco by chipping in a penalty as Everton won a shoot-out 6-5 after a 1-1 draw.
Manager Martinez and goalkeeper Howard were impressed with the way Stones handled the threat of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente – and with his Andrea Pirlo-style spot-kick.
Juventus playmaker Pirlo missed his penalty in the shoot-out, but Stones had no such problems and United States international Howard told the Liverpool Echo: "I like Stonesy. He's a good kid who takes information on board well.
"You can yell at him and give him a dressing down and he takes it and responds well. You need that as a centre-half, and I thought he was classy and composed. You buy a 19-year-old to look towards the future, but he has grown and got comfortable with the place.
"One game doesn't make you a superstar, and he's got a lot of work to do, but tonight was a step in the right direction. I'd be confident with him playing in the Premier League."
Stones, a regular in the Barnsley side during the first half of last season, gained additional experience by playing for England at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in June.
Martinez said he was not surprised to see the teenager chip his penalty against Juventus, and the manager told Everton's website: "I knew he was going to do it, because he has done that with the last three he has taken in training. The question was: could he do it after Andrea Pirlo and at his age?
"It was incredible, and I thought it was an example of his performance. He was composed throughout. It was a very useful game for him and [he could be] a very important 'new' player for us going forward."
Everton's next match in the International Champions Cup will be in Los Angeles on Saturday, when they face Real Madrid or LA Galaxy.