Ronald de Boer believes his brother Frank would be the ideal coach to inspire Everton’s John Stones to reach his potential.
For all of his ability in possession, Stones has been criticised this season for some costly lapses in defence.
He remains at the centre of a wider debate over whether his footballing instincts should be nurtured or if he should instead be instructed to kick the ball long.
Everton’s unreliable defence was a major factor in the team’s struggles that culminated in the sacking of manager Roberto Martinez, creating the managerial vacancy that Frank de Boer – until recently at Ajax – has been linked with.
At his peak, the Dutchman was a classy central defender known for his passing ability, essentially similar to Stones.
Having played alongside Frank for much of his career, twin brother Ronald knows how he would shape Stones, and is convinced the England international would thrive under him.
“Frank was a type like Stones,” said De Boer, 46. “My brother never kicked the ball in the stands: never did it in his life, always trying to have a solution.
“Stones is the same and that is why he sometimes makes mistakes but that is also why people like him. Frank can help him to get better, with his 112 caps and so many trophies.
“If I see what (Frank) did also already with the youngsters like Kenny Tete and (Jairo) Riedewald at 19 years old, and (Mitchell) Dijks, (Joel) Veltman, all four of them are full internationals.
“Frank would never choose a player who’s just defending, he would like to have a guy like Stones. Frank gets crazy if somebody kicks the ball out.”
The concern remains that, at a time when the Football Association is trying to encourage a more possession-based style of football and to develop young English players’ technique, the wrong manager would inhibit Stones’ cultured instincts.
Ronald de Boer recognises Stones’ talent requires polishing but he is adamant it would be a mistake to change his game, believing he would be more appreciated on the continent.
“He has to realise when to take risks or not, but you must never take away his qualities,” he said. “People like him because of what he did. If he now changes his game, he wouldn’t be that special, because he can defend, but what makes him so exciting is that he can play from the back.