England's 6-1 World Cup thrashing of Panama on Sunday was a scoreline felt around the world, but nowhere more passionately than Barnsley thanks to John Stones' unlikely brace.

The 24-year-old from Thurlstone is now a £47million signing, playing with and against the best in the world for England and Premier League champions Manchester City.But the defender is also warmly remembered by the Championship stalwarts who were his first senior team-mates at Barnsley six years ago.

Stephen Foster, a long-serving Barnsley centre-back 14 years older than Stones, played alongside him for many of the England man's 28 Reds games.

He told the Chronicle: "I didn't expect to feel so emotional when Stonesy scored, but I did. I think it was just knowing how nice a lad he is and how pleased he would be to score for England at the World Cup. You want the good people in life to do well and John is definitely one of them. It's brilliant for the town of Barnsley, all the club's fans and John's family."

Stephen Dawson, the Irish midfielder who is still playing for Bury in League Two, said: "It was a proud moment. I am so happy for him. He has got the world at his feet now. Who knows? He might be a World Cup winner in a few weeks. I think he could be a future England captain and break all kinds of appearance records because he has got in the team so young and he could go on for a long time."

Luke Steele, the goalkeeper who played behind Stones at Barnsley, added: "He had a good chance in the first game (against Tunisia) then he scored in the second one and to get two goals in the World Cup is an amazing achievement. I was willing him on more than any of the other England players because he's from Barnsley, I know him and I used to play with him. I know all of us who used to play with him are really proud of him and I am sure the whole town of Barnsley is as well."

Stones was in the Oakwell academy from the age of eight and was spotted as a 17-year-old by Reds manager Keith Hill who introduced him into the first team training squad then brought him on as a substitute twice at the end of the 2011/12 season. The following season, he became a first team regular mainly at right wing-back.

Dawson said: "He stood out straight away because he was so composed. There was a lot of tension in the camp at the time because we weren't on good form and there was quite a lot of pressure on the gaffer. So it wasn't an easy time for a young lad to come through but John took it all in his stride.

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"He was quite timid and he obviously needed to fill out physically because he was so young, but he had all the ability in the world and it was only a matter of time before he left.After five or ten first team games we were all saying 'this kid has got it all'."

Steele said: "There were other players coming through at that time who were probably as good technically but he was a natural athlete and that's what made him stand out. He was just a really, really nice lad with a quiet confidence and, when I speak to him now, he is still exactly the same Stonesy."

Foster added: "It seemed like he had been in the first team for years and there didn't seem to be any nerves. He had a lot of confidence but no arrogance. You could tell he had a sense of humour and got involved with some banter but he was always very respectful of the older players and listened to our advice.

"He usually played alongside me on the right and he was raw but he had some really good games. I remember him marking Yannick Bolasie out of the game when we played Crystal Palace and showing amazing pace in that game. He always wanted to go forward and I had to scream at him quite a lot not to leave us exposed, but he was a very quick learner and a brilliant player."

After less than a year in the first team, and one goal at Rochdale in the League Cup, Stones was sold to Premier League Everton in January 2013. Foster said: "I don't think anyone could have imagined the impact he has had on the Premier League and the England team. We all knew he was very talented and there were lots of scouts at our games but that next step was always going to be a huge one. He's taken that step with ease and it's been fantastic to watch."

Dawson was more confident the youngster would go straight to the top. He said: "I knew he was better than Everton, no disrespect to them, and I am not surprised at all that he has gone on to win the Premier League with City and play for England. He's still a lovely, gentle lad and he hasn't changed at all. I am proud to have played with him.

"I know he still speaks to people like Reuben Noble-Lazarus a lot. I have rung him up for tickets for Everton and Man City games and he has always sorted me out. I know he still keeps an eye on Barnsley's results and I think he goes to the odd game when he can."