Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jagielka praying for England chance

Everton defender Phil Jagielka is hoping to receive a chance to impress in an England shirt during Euro 2012.

Jagielka was initially included only on Roy Hodgson’s standby list but was called up to replace the injured Gareth Barry and could now feasibly feature in the Three Lions’ opening fixture against France after Gary Cahill was forced to pull out of the squad with a broken jaw.

John Terry is also rumoured to be facing a race to be fit for the game against Laurent Blanc’s team, with the Chelsea captain yet to return to training having suffered a hamstring strain during Saturday’s friendly victory over Belgium.

“It all seems to have turned around pretty quickly for me,” Jagielka told the FA’s official website.

“I may have gone up in the pecking order but I will bide my time, take my chance and, if it comes my way, try to perform to the best of my ability.

“When the group got drawn out, we knew, not taking anything away from Sweden or Ukraine, that probably the biggest game in the group was going to be France. It adds spice being the first.

“It is important to start the tournament well, I am sure they are thinking the same. Hopefully come Monday, the manager has got us ready and we can start the tournament well.”

Jagielka could find himself playing alongside former Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott, who became a regular fixture at the back for Premier League champions Manchester City during the domestic season.

“Jol has been brilliant,” Jagielka said. “It is fantastic to see. He has got a couple of medals since he has moved on.

“He is a brilliant lad, we have known each other for a while and if at some time we line up together it will be a fantastic experience.”

One man definitely ruled out of the France match is suspended striker Wayne Rooney, but Jagielka was not concerned about the Manchester United star’s state of mind ahead of his probable return in the final game of the group stage against Ukraine.

“Wayne is fine,” the 29-year-old said. “He is gutted not to be playing but if you have ever seen him train, he is like a big kid. He loves it.

“He knows that is going to be the situation. He is just desperate to get some game time. He supports us and can keep himself amused.”

Jagielka tipped goalkeeper Joe Hart to star for England, hailing the Manchester City man’s performances during the squad’s training sessions.

“I’ve only watched Manchester City from a distance this year, but he has probably been their best player,” Jagielka said.

“Some of the saves he pulls off in training are unbelievable. It is just the way he goes about it.”


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