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'Attitude and confidence' - Why two Evertonians have been tipped for greatness

The World Cup is apparently just the start for Ross Barkley and John Stones.

Jan Kruger

With the 2014 World Cup edging ever closer two of Everton's young Lions have received glowing praise and an optimistic assessment of their futures.

Firstly, Ross Barkley could become a national hero this summer according to his club captain Phil Jagielka.

Jags will travel with Barkley to Brazil and believes that the 20-year-old could prove to be an inspired inclusion in Roy Hodgson's squad.

Certainly the injection of youth in a squad that also includes Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw has given everyone a boost ahead of a tournament where expectations are justifiably low.

But it is the inclusion of team-mate Barkley that has got Jagielka most excited.

Speaking to Sky Sports News the defender said:

"Ross is a fantastic player. He's very frustrating to play against because he has got a tremendous amount of ability.

"I'm not 100% sure what role he will have during the World Cup but I'm sure it will be a very important one whether he'll be starting or coming off the bench.

"He's grown not only as a player but as a person in the last 12 months. You can see the confidence of playing week in, week out has helped his game develop.

"We still must not forget he is only 20 years old and hopefully there will be a lot more World Cups and a lot more international appearances for Ross in his career.

"But no doubt we as a nation will get a little bit carried away this year in the World Cup and hopefully we'll be shouting about Ross at the end of it."

Meanwhile England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate says John Stones can go on to be one of the very best.

Southgate has seen Stones go from a Under-20 international to stand-by for the senior squad in less than 12 months, with only handful of appearances for the Under-21s in between.

Should Manchester United's Phil Jones pull out with a shoulder injury then Stones will cap a memorable season with a place on the plane to Brazil.

Even if that doesn't happen Southgate has seen enough to tip the former Barnsley man to become an established international sooner rather than later.

Southgate said:

"There is not a hint of arrogance about him, he's a dream to work with and so grateful for the opportunity all the time.

"His composure on the ball is fantastic and we're looking for defenders to play out. His experience at full back probably helped that. Like any centre back he will have to learn the defensive positioning that only comes with experience, but nothing fazes him, nothing with us, or Everton.

"I had a great chat for him on the phone the other night. He was chuffed for his family, he's just so thankful and it is a pleasure when you work with lads like that.

"I had a discussion with Roberto Martinez about where he would end up playing and I remember saying 'I think that's his position.

"He has had terrific games for us there and then gone in there at centre back for Everton.

"It is probably one that for club and country worked really nicely and the relationship we have with Roberto hopefully played a part in that. In the end it is down to the player and his fantastic attitude and his desire to keep learning."