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Jagielka backs Gerrard for Pirlo role

SoccerNews in English Premier League 26 May 2013

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Phil Jagielka has backed England team-mate Steven Gerrard to continue playing an important role for his country.

Captain Gerrard is now 32 and the 2014 World Cup is likely to be his last major international tournament, but Jagielka feels the Liverpool midfielder can continue to be a force for Roy Hodgson’s side.
However, the Everton defender feels Gerrard may look to alter his style slightly when playing for England.

“He’s getting that bit older and I see him changing his game for England a bit. He’s still got the range of passing,” he said.

“(Andrea) Pirlo doesn’t move around much but still gets in and makes things happen. If Stevie does that and doesn’t run around as much – with his range of passing – that could make us stronger.”

England currently have four games left of their World Cup qualifying campaign and Jagielka says nobody is guaranteed a place in the national side, with the possible exception of Gerrard.

“There’s tough competition for places in pretty much all positions,” he said.

“There isn’t anyone who has it nailed down, apart from possibly Stevie, but it’s a big year for him as well.

“I wouldn’t like to put money on who will be in the starting XI. Look at the centre-backs we have – and even the full-backs aren’t guaranteed these days. I look at that as a positive.”

England face Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on Wednesday, before then travelling to Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil next Sunday.

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