Everton have taken advantage of Barnsley's work with England international John Stones, admits the Premier League club's CEO Robert Elstone.
The defender from Thurlstone, now 20, left the Reds for Everton in January 2013 for around £3million. Royston man Elstone, who brokered the deal, said: "Barnsley should be very proud of John and what he has achieved.
"At Everton, we have taken advantage of all the hard work that John and the Barnsley academy coaches did over the years.
"I first met John on the final day of the January transfer window. He was halfway between us and Wigan and we ended up getting him. It's ironic because we ended up working with Roberto (Martinez, who left Wigan for Everton last year). We were delighted to sign him and the progress he has made since then has been fantastic."
There is no clause in the deal which took Stones from Oakwell to Goodison Park that provides the Reds with any extra money for his England debut. There is a substantial sell-on clause but, despite interest from other Premier League clubs, Elstone insists the young defender will not be leaving Everton in the near future.
"We think John has a very bright future with Everton Football Club and we want him to play many games for us over many, many years."
Elstone admits he was 'doubly proud' to see Stones make his England debut – in a pre World Cup friendy while on standby for the squad – as an Everton player and a fellow Barnsley man. He added: "It was just a shame that he didn't take that final step and get into the full squad. I have reminisced with him many times about Barnsley and he is certainly very proud to be from the town."
Elstone's favourite moment of a successful 2013/14 campaign which saw Everton finish fifth in the Premier League came in a pre-season friendly and was provided by Stones. "My highlight was in a game against Juventus against San Francisco when John stepped up and did a 'Pirlo' penalty against Gianluigi Buffon. He chipped it in so calmly and skillfully. I'm probably biased because it was a moment made in Barnsley."
See this week's paper for a feature on Elstone who still competes for Barnsley Athletics Club and has also represented Great Britain at Duathlon.