Cape Town - England manager Gareth Southgate spoke very highly of John Stones ahead of Friday’s friendly international against Germany.
The Manchester City defender has had a solid second season since joining from Everton, and looks likely to start the match at Wembley.
"I’ve always said to him people will talk to you about just kicking the ball out," Southgate said. "For me, if you want to do that, that's fine. You'll be the same as many others.
"But if you want to play for me with the under-21s, I want you to keep doing the things that make you different. And I think he is different. He has as much composure as any defender I've seen in Europe.
"I saw [Bayern Munich defender Jerome] Boateng at Manchester City when he was a kid and nobody would have predicted him going on to do what he has done.
"I saw [Barcelona's Gerard] Pique at Middlesbrough when he was playing at Manchester United and he was at fault for a couple of the goals. You never would have seen him being where he was a couple of years later.
"And John has attributes that those guys have. He has presence in the opposition penalty box now. He has the mindset that he wants to learn and improve.
"He's got a really bright future and he's the type of defender we want playing for our country."