We could witness the end of an era at Everton this summer, should Phil Jagielka finally depart Goodison Park. The England international moved to Merseyside in 2007 and has been a key member of Everton’s defence for the last decade, but now aged 34 and inevitably regressing, his future beyond the summer remains uncertain.
Earlier this week, the Toffees skipper admitted as much, telling Sky Sports…
“It is not really about me and what I hope. Obviously I will get time off with the rest of the lads and prepare myself to go back for pre-season and see where the land lies. I am delighted to be here. I have been here a long time now. I have got at least one more year on my contract and I feel as though I have got a lot more football in me. It is up to me to come back in pre-season and prove to the manager that I am not too bad and hopefully I can stick around.”
But as Everton clinched a 1-0 win over Watford yesterday evening, Jagielka rolled back the years to produce a Man of the Match display – one that might just convince Ronald Koeman there’s life in the old dog yet.
Jagielka’s most obvious contribution was the assist for Barkley’s goal – albeit a rather simple pass into midfield. But defensively, the veteran centre-back was nothing short of monolithic, battling against the likes of Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka to win seven aerial duels, make a staggering 16 clearances, win two tackles and complete three interceptions – whilst blocking one effort at goal.
Jagielka may no longer be the force of old and Watford, admittedly, were hardly the most ferocious of opposition last night. But Jagielka showed he’s still an absolute master of the nuts and bolts of the defensive trade – and with much change expected on Merseyside over the next few seasons, the continuity his experience provides could pay dividends.
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