Phil Jagielka – Phoenix From The Ashes

Phil Jagielka has received his critics this year, and justifiably so. He had a poor World Cup and has since lost his place in the England team and has had a terrible start to the season along with the rest of the Everton defence He would of also likely of lost his place in the Everton team had Sylvain Distin shown any kind of form.

In my recent article on Distin I mentioned that some things players do are unforgivable and will always stay in a fans mind. I was referring to Distin’s pass to Suarez which is a moment that left Everton fans depressed and angry about a match we gave away against our fiercest rivals. If that was unforgivable, what Jagielka did on Saturday was unforgettable. If there was anyone the media would of loved to score a 30 yard equalizer in front of the Kop it would of been Steven Gerrard, instead it was a man who scored only his 7th ever league goal for the club. Philip Nikodem Jagielka.

What made it all the more sweet was that it topped off what was a great game for Jagielka, he was a lot more assured in defence and gave the kind of performance that Everton fans have been a lot more accustomed to since he arrived in 2007.

John Stones has to be the first name on the team sheet now and his performance against Liverpool further cemented that in the eyes of most Evertonians. The spot next to him though had been up for debate. I had said with Jagielka and Distin both being out of form that i’d be inclined to want Distin next to Stones due to the right foot / left foot partnership however Distin has been playing even worse than Jagielka so for the moment it seems like the Jagielka and Stones partnership will be first choice going forward.

Jagielka has been a mainstay in the Everton defence since his arrival but at 32 years old people had been calling for a replacement. He may be 32 now but Distin has shown that there could be a fair few years left in Jagielka yet. Alarm bells have been ringing at Everton since the 6 – 3 match with Chelsea as that turned our defensive worries into somewhat of a crisis with people questioning if Jagielka and Distin were in an irreversible decline with only one promising option elsewhere at the club in that position in Stones.

Jagielka’s performance vs Liverpool gives hope for the foreseeable future. If he can play like that week in week out for the next few years then we will be fine. It will also help bring though Stones who will make mistakes, but hopefully will quickly learn from them. It was also important that the fans got onside with Jagielka, he has been a terrific servant for the club but our captain getting heavily criticized, justifiably for his performances must not of gave a great atmosphere around the club. That will all change now though as a 30 yard wonder goal in front of the Kop to deny Liverpool a win in the Merseyside derby is the perfect way get the fans behind you and hopefully now he can kick on a deliver yet another solid year in a royal blue jersey.

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