'Chelsea target Stones didn't mean to hand in transfer request' – Martinez

The Everton centre-back attempted to force through a move to the Premier League champions but he has been praised by the Spaniard, who has tipped him to captain England

Roberto Martinez has praised the attitude of Chelsea target John Stones, and has hinted that the central defender did not want to hand in a transfer request.

The 21-year-old informed the club of his desire to leave last week, having seen Chelsea table offers of £20 million and £26m for his services.

Everton have taken a firm stance over Stones, insisting that he will not be sold before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, and Martinez has now hailed the professionalism shown by the young defender, while insinuating that he did not wish to request a move.

“He’s such a professional,” the Everton boss told reporters.

“I had other situations where I had players who couldn’t cope and couldn’t play. I had windows where I had to leave players out completely and when the window closed get him back in the team and what that represents – winning his team-mates over and the fans over.

“With John, it’s very easy because he’s a pristine professional. Obviously he’s been put under massive, massive pressure. The transfer request was something he didn’t mean to do.”

Stones played as Everton drew 0-0 with Tottenham on Saturday, and Martinez says that he is yet to discuss Stones’ future with the defender.

“No, no, no. We haven’t spoken about that,” he replied when asked if Stones had apologised for handing in a transfer request. “All we’ve been speaking about is the game and what we need to do. He’s been a leader in that.

“[On Saturday] you saw a 21-year-old deal with that pressure and he played in that manner. For me, it shows he has potential to be England captain.”