Everton defender looking to develop 'bigger presence' this season

Everton Goodison

Everton defender John Stones has stated that his is trying develop his game by becoming a "bigger presence" alongside his teammates.

The youngster enjoyed a breakout season with the Blues last season, making 26 appearances as the Toffees narrowly missed out on a place in the Champions League places, finishing fifth behind Arsenal.

Stones' fine form was rewarded with a place in England's 30-man pre-World Cup squad before eventually being cut by manager Roy Hodgson as he trimmed his numbers to 23 ahead of the Brazil tournament.

The former Barnsley teenager signed a new five-year contract at Goodison Park and Thursday afternoon, and the 20-year-old explained how he is planning to improve in the coming campaign.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo after inking the extension, he said: “I need to be more vocal and a bigger presence.

"There’s a lot of things in training I learn from Jags (Phil Jagielka) and Sylvain (Distin) about how to make it easier to play in the Premier League. I need to keep learning from them day in day out and hopefully learn to express myself in the Premier League.

“It’s about organising and helping the players in front of me. It’s a big part of any defenders game being vocal and I need to bring it more into mine. It will help me and my team-mates around me when I can do that.”

Stones' extension is the latest signing in what has been a summer to remember for fans of the club, after Ross Barkley's new four-year deal was completed just a day before the Blues announced the £28 million arrival of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

Roberto Martinez has also added Peter Henen and Bosnia's World Cup star Muhamed Besic to his squad after making Gareth Barry's loan deal permanent from Manchester City.

The Blues conclude their pre-season preparations with a game against German side Paderborn on Saturday before a trip to Leicester City on August 16 kicks off their new Premier League season.

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