By Neil Wood
Phil Jagielka certainly believes he has the required qualities to continue at the very top level of English football.
The Everton club captain and England international seems to have no intention of dropping down the leagues, despite recent rumours of him returning to Sheffield United, the club from whom he was purchased by the Toffees.
Already racking up 329 appearances for the Blues, he is now due to start his 11th consecutive season at Goodison Park. His reading of the game, leadership skills and development of upcoming talent can clearly only be beneficial to the club.
Younger players such as Mason Holgate, Jonjoe Kenny and many others coming through the academy at USM Finch Farm can soak up his wisdom and experience, which will only help to improve their own game.
In addition to his Everton appearances, he has 40 England caps to his name and this vast experience is invaluable to have within your squad.
Everton are currently without Ramiro Funes Mori owing to injury, making Jagielka’s presence ever more important.
Recent recruitment has seen Michael Keane brought in from Burnley in a £23 million deal and he is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet, which may infringe on the veteran’s minutes on the pitch this season.
In recent days, further incomings been mooted, with West Ham United’s Winston Reid one of the most noteworthy, which was reported by The Daily Mail.
The Goodison men however have a potentially long and game-packed season ahead with their involvement in the Europa League and clearly Ronald Koeman will have to adopt a more rotational system with the players at his disposal.
This will likely afford Jagielka more playing time and continuance of his role as a key member of the squad.
In addition to his defensive qualities, the fans’ favourite has often popped up with vital goals – most memorably the equaliser against Liverpool back in September 2014.
This goal will long stick in the memories of the blue half of Merseyside and the nightmares of the red side, sending the away supporters into rapture.
Despite his age and the continued expansive recruitment at the Goodison club, Jagielka is clearly still adored by the fans and has a part to play in this important era of Everton’s history.