Roberto Martinez has suggested Everton defender John Stones did not personally want to lodge the transfer request that the Toffees rejected.
England international Stones is understood to have been the subject of four bids by Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea during this window, yet Everton have remained resolute in their desire to keep the 21-year-old at Goodison Park.
That stance was not even altered when Stones formally asked for a move to be granted – a request his chairman Bill Kenwright publicly rejected on Thursday – and Martinez selected him in his back four for the stalemate with Tottenham on Saturday.
Martinez has praised Stones' attitude in dealing with this saga throughout and hinted the decision to hand in a transfer request was not the defender's choice.
"He's such a professional," the Everton boss said.
SEE MORE: Everton’s 2015/16 season preview.
"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."
Asked if Stones had expressed regret to him over the transfer request, Martinez added: "No, no, no. We haven't spoken about that. 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."
Stones was heckled by some fans at Barnsley last week but enjoyed a much kinder reception when he went over to greet the traveling contingent at the end of the game at White Hart Lane.
Martinez is confident any animosity held towards his centre-back is now water under the bridge.
"He knows the fans will be with him, he knows the fans will understand what's happened," Martinez said.
"The way he has always been performing – he's always been a top professional, never letting the team down or the football club down. He is a true Evertonian."
Stones was part of a rearguard action that frustrated Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs in north London, with goalkeeper Tim Howard earning the man-of-the-match accolade for a string of saves that frustrated Harry Kane and Co.
It left Tottenham still seeking their first victory of the new campaign as they enter the international break, not that Pochettino is overly concerned by the manner of their performances.
"We created the better chances and their goalkeeper was the man of the match; this is football," argued Pochettino.
"If you analyze it, we created clear chances to score. It is not about intensity, it is about being clinical in front of goal and it was unlucky and an unbelievable performance from Tim Howard.
"This is football, last season, before the first international break, we win two games but after we have a difficult period – maybe now is the difficult period."
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Sling is your ticket to the best of PSG starring Messi, Neymar and Mbappe
- FIFA officially advances World Cup by a day for Qatar
- Telemundo World Cup studio talent for Qatar announced
- How Paramount+ can improve its soccer streaming
- Sterling could not waste peak years at Man City on the bench
- Africa Super League: What we know and don’t know
- Youri Tielemans to Arsenal more likely with Lokonga loan
- Frankfurt’s Kostic arrives in Turin for Juventus medical
- Elliott signs new long-term Liverpool deal
- Vela, Ruidiaz lift MLS All-Stars to 2-1 win over Liga MX