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Glenn Hoddle hails Stones' ball-playing potential for England

Former England coach Glenn Hoddle says Everton defender John Stones' ball-playing ability offers a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

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John Stones offers England a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to change their style of play for the better, former England coach Glenn Hoddle says.

The Everton centre-back has been criticised for some poor Premier League performances this season, but Hoddle sees him as essential to England's Euro 2016 hopes.

Stones was overlooked by Roy Hodgson as England came from 2-0 down to beat Germany 3-2 in Berlin on Saturday and Hoddle feels the defender can improve England's international prospects.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Hoddle said: "Stones represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to break that mould.

"If we want to do well at Euro 2016, then we need to have our best technical players on the ball, to give them the opportunity to create as many chances as they can, to put opponents on the back foot.

"And for that they need the ball, which means a passing link between the back four and midfield."

Hoddle compared Stones to Germany centre-back Mats Hummels, as well as Spain's Gerard Pique, citing the 21-year-old's ability on the ball.

"You are not going to get that from a central defensive partnership of two from Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka," Hoddle wrote. 

"The distribution into the midfield is unlikely to be that good, meaning that as often as not there will be a long ball played into the channels.

"England will give the ball away and the team will be under pressure – again. Of course, when you're under relentless pressure because you cannot keep the ball, you often end up conceding."

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