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Belgium coach Martinez won't hear criticism of Man City defender Stones

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is adamant Manchester City defender John Stones can have a big World Cup.

Stones' place in England's starting XI has been questioned.

But his former Everton manager says: “I was scouting John for Wigan and we missed him on deadline day, and then he signed for ­Everton in January 2013.

“He hadn't made his debut when I joined Everton that summer, but, from day one, I knew John had to be a ­centre-half and he had the ­composure on the ball to play there.

“It was a really interesting journey to see him grow and taking ­responsibility and get to the level he has got to. He has a big future."

Stones is the only member of ­Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad that ­Martinez worked with during his time in charge of Swansea, Wigan and Everton, although he admits there was one other he was looking to sign.

Martinez said: “We followed Kieran ­Trippier for a while – my chief scout loved him, absolutely loved him."

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Paul Vegas

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