Phil Jagielka admits it’s hard to hear his England team-mates talk about their Champions League adventures – but is using his envy as extra motivation.
Everton duo Jagielka and Leighton Baines were the only players from Roy Hodgson’s side that played Ukraine at Wembley last week not to be involved in European competition with their clubs, and the 30-year-old central defender says that he is determined to do his utmost to ensure that has changed next season – and the Toffees are back among the sides bidding for glory on the continent. He told the Liverpool Echo:
“You hear the Man City boys talking about how their family and friends were going over to watch them against Real Madrid, and you do get envious of the stadiums they’ll be playing in and the big games but it only makes you want to perform better. We’ve been out of Europe for a while now and while the lads say it does make the season a lot longer and you’re playing so many more games, on the same token I’ve had some great adventures away and memorable nights in Nuremburg, Fiorentina and all these different stadiums with great atmospheres.”
Jagielka insists it is important Everton do not let their standards slip when they go to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium tomorrow, after a defeat and a draw in their last two league outings. He continued:
“We started off really well and now it’s gone down to just decent. We need to keep going to make sure in six or so games it doesn’t sink to an average start or a below average start. We’ve got a good platform and if we can keep performing well, and tighten up on the sloppy things we’ve been doing in games lately, you never know where it might take us.”