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Reds ready to put 2014 behind them

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Stones hoping to emulate Barkley

John Stones hopes to follow in Ross Barkley's footsteps by becoming a regular for Everton and then getting into the England squad.

John Stones has been turning heads with his displays for Barnsley
Stones is hoping for a breakthrough season.

Defender Stones takes heart from his 19-year-old team-mate's swift progress after Roy Hodgson called up Barkley for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

Stones, who made his debut for England's Under-21 team when Hodgson managed them in August's 6-0 win over Scotland, is in the squad again for Thursday's European Championship qualifier against Moldova.

But he dreams of emulating Barkley, saying: "I really want to do the same as Ross. Of course it is a big inspiration for me, when he is making the first team and getting picked for England. He is hitting the ground running for Everton."

Stones was David Moyes' final signing at Goodison Park when he made his £3 million move from Barnsley in January but never made a first-team appearance for the Scot.

He turned down Wigan to join Everton but now the former Athletic manager Roberto Martinez is in charge at Goodison Park.

And Stones, who made his competitive debut in last week's 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Stevenage, is eager for more opportunities in the senior side.

The 19-year-old added: "I am always trying to push for a first-team position. That is my big aim. I want to cement a spot in the first team, keep pushing as hard as I can all season until I get there."

The teenager, who can play as a right-back or a central defender, believes tough pre-season fixtures against top teams were an excellent grounding for him.

"Playing Juventus and the likes of [Real] Madrid and Valencia was a great experience for me and made me feel like I had hit the ground running," Stones said.

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