Rock solid: Stones is set to partner Phil Jones in centre England defence

By Alex Taylor

Wayne Rooney declared that he is a better defender than John Stones after playing alongside the Everton centre-back in England training sessions at Euro 2016.

The Manchester United striker played as a midfielder throughout the Three Lions’ failed European Championship campaign that ended in a shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of Iceland in the round of 16.

John Stones finished the tournament as an unused substitute, managing to escape much of the criticism fired towards England players following the championships and is now on the verge of completing a £50million move to Manchester City.

Sky Sports’ News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol revealed on his personal Twitter account on Sunday evening that a deal should be imminently completed at around that price.

“No-one spotted this,” Rooney told the Daily Mail. “But during the tournament with England, sometimes in training I’d play the role of the opposition centre half alongside John Stones.”

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When pressed on whether he was any good as a defender, Rooney said: “’I was better than Stonesy.” Before quickly backtracking: “No, I was OK. Good enough. If you watch enough football, you should be able to play different positions.”

Stones has shown flashes of potential throughout a tumultuous season for Everton in 2015-16, playing in 41 games in all competitions, and despite transfer speculation the 22-year-old has continued to play for Roberto Di Matteo’s side in their pre-season fixtures.

Stones will now be hoping to put his sour experiences with England aside as he looks to start a new chapter in his footballing career.

In other Everton team news, legend Graeme Sharp has backed Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley to put behind them their troubles of last season and shine in the new campaign.