Lineker backs Stones for World Cup
7:14am Thursday 8th May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
England manager Roy Hogdson could do worse than taking a "gamble" on including 19-year-old Everton defender John Stones in his World Cup squad, according to former captain Gary Lineker.
Under-21 international Stones - who was playing for Barnsley last season before a £3million move to Goodison Park during January 2013 - is expected to be in contention for a place as a stand-by when Hodgson names his 30-man group after the final game of the Barclays Premier League season.
However, with doubts emerging over the potential fitness of Manchester United's Phil Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in Tuesday night's Barclays Premier League win over Hull, and Tottenham defender Kyle Walker - out for the past two months because of a pelvic problem - Lineker has backed giving Stones a place on the plane to Brazil as cover for the likes of Phil Jagielka, who has just recovered from hamstring damage, and Gary Cahill.
"The only one I might take a chance on because we are so short in central defence is Stones. I really like him, and he has got a lot about him," said Lineker, who was speaking in London at the launch of the BBC's World Cup coverage, which will include some 31 live matches spread across television, radio and digital platforms to offer fans 24/7 access to the showpiece tournament in Brazil.
"Sometimes central defenders need a little bit more experience than players in other positions because of the extra discipline and the nature of that particular role."
Lineker, part of the England side which reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and scored 48 international goals in 80 caps, added: "But is he worth a gamble? Well, if Roy loses another one - if Jones doesn't make it for example - then what else have we got?
"We have got Cahill and Jagielka, then (Cardiff defender Steven) Caulker, who struggles a little bit on the turn. We are short in that position."