Everton manager Ronald Koeman says he wanted to “protect” club captain Phil Jagielka after leaving the England international on the bench for the 2-0 win against West Ham on Sunday.
Well, Koeman suggested that he was resting Jagielka ahead of a busy period of fixtures, but some cynics would certainly argue that he may have been dropped after giving away two penalties away at Manchester City a fortnight ago, before appearing in the 2-1 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor.
Those rumours were ramped up even further because of the fact that the England defender had previously started every Premier League game under the Dutchman this term.
Koeman said: “I already had thoughts before the Burnley game. I like to protect Jag.
“November, December and January will be very tough for everybody, and sometimes you need to give players the opportunity to show.”
The Argentine did well, and he helped them pick up a clean sheet too – something the Toffees had failed to do in their previous six matches – which would have pleased Koeman in the Goodison Park dugout.
No doubt. He is a leader and is in his 10th season for the club, proving what a brilliant servant he has been.
As his legs may start to suffer, his experience will help out individuals like Funes Mori in the future, and as Koeman says, they will need to utilise the whole squad during the Christmas period.