Keith Hill, then Barnsley boss (2012): "He is a player who can go all the way because he's grounded, he's got good football intelligence and he wants to improve."
David Flitcroft, then Barnsley boss (2013): "I was asked if I could replace him, and the answer was ‘no’. How do you replace the best young defender in England?"
Leighton Baines, Everton player (2014): "He’s just a player that’s never really flustered. He’s got fantastic composure. He’s a really good footballer, made for the international scene to play centre-half, because he’ll take the ball out from the back and rarely gives it away. He can start play really well and defends really well."
Roy Hodgson, then England manager (Sep 2015): “John Stones is more than capable of playing in two positions. In Switzerland he played magnificently at right-back in Basel, when we won 2-0. He’s a centre-back at Everton, where he also plays very well. It’s good to have a player of that type capable of playing in two positions."
Rio Ferdinand, pundit (August 2016): “At international level - look at the last two tournaments – we haven’t had a player who can bring the ball out of defence, who can put his foot on the ball and go, ‘Right, let me control it a little bit or step into midfield.’
“You need composure at the back because you sometimes need to make that extra pass. Someone like Stones brings something extra to the team."