Veteran defender Phil Jagielka has suggested that Everton took an “easy option” by releasing him last summer.

The centre-back, now 37-years-old, left the Toffees last summer after 12-years of service and 322 Premier League appearances.

After leaving Goodison Park, he joined boyhood club Sheffield United on a one-year deal.

Jagielka would have been brought in to raise the spirits of Chris Wilder’s side and help them to avoid relegation.

However, the Blades have overcome expectations this season and could even be in line to taste European football next season.

Jagielka has been a bit-part player for the club and has made six Premier League experiences so far this season. However, his knowledge off the field has been more valuable for the club than his appearances for it.

Jagielka’s return to Bramall Lane would have been emotional. Prior to joining Everton, he spent seven years in the first-team of his boyhood club.

He played in the First Division, Championship and Premier League for the Blades during his first-stint. His move to Goodison Park came after he was one Sheffield’s standout players during the 2006/17 top-flight season which saw them being relegated.

Jagielka feels that his departure from the Toffees could have been handled better. He was one of the club’s best players in the modern generation. He was a first-team regular for Everton in all of his seasons with the club apart from the last. During the last, he made just seven appearances for the club in the top-flight and scored one goal.

 “I would have stayed, given the opportunity,” Jagielka said as quoted by The Daily Mirror.

“At the time, they were after a couple of centre-halves, ­including Kurt Zouma, who had been on loan from Chelsea. It appeared they couldn’t make their mind up about me. It seemed the easiest decision was to let me go.

“That wasn’t nice to hear, ­after such an enjoyable time there.”

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