Everton's Roberto Martinez happy to include John Stones against Chelsea
Last Updated: 10/09/15 7:58pm
Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists he has no concerns about selecting John Stones for Saturday's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Goodison Park.
The defender was the subject of three bids from the champions during the transfer window but Everton remained resolute in their desire to keep hold of the 21-year-old.
Stones, whose transfer request was also rejected, has been away on international duty since featuring in the Toffees' 0-0 draw at Tottenham on August 29, making two appearances for England, but is now set to return to domestic action against his suitors.
Martinez is happy to select Stones for the game, though, after being impressed with his recent performances for both club and country.
"It's fair to say John is going from strength to strength," Martinez told his club's official website.
"Every opportunity he has to face a challenge, he faces it straight on and becomes a better player at the end of it. I was really pleased in the manner that the fans reacted towards John.
"In the dressing room and at the football club, he has always had tremendous support. John as an individual has benefitted from a difficult period with a lot of pressure. He's been able to find a way to perform on the pitch no matter what was going on around him.
"He always performed in the best possible way for Everton and that's going to help him for the rest of his career. If he can get through that, he can get through anything really. The support of the players has been key towards it and maybe it has made the group stronger."
Martinez also insists his side will be more motivated by last season's 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge - when Willian scored a last-minute goal after Gareth Barry's red card - than the Stones saga.
Last season we were left with a really angry feeling at the end with the sending off of Gareth Barry and then conceding so late in a very close game.
Roberto Martinez on playing Chelsea
The Spaniard said: "It adds an extra edge because they are the current champions and a team that we need to test ourselves against.
"Last season we were left with a really angry feeling at the end with the sending off of Gareth Barry and then conceding so late in a very close game, in which we probably had the two best chances.
"It's something that you want to get rid of. You get rid of that by playing and performing in front of our crowd."
Martinez has also said his relationship with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will not be affected by the Stones transfer saga.
"Nothing changes," he said. "It is part of the rules. In the transfer window you are allowed to make enquiries and offers for players. It gives you a bigger feeling of control when you can decide what to do with those attempts."