Phil Jagielka

Phil Jagielka
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Phil Jagielka

Current Club: Everton.

Previous Clubs: Sheffield United.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: England 40 caps 3 goals.

Trophies Won: N/A.

Jagielka is in the twilight of his career now, but it is a remarkable career that has shown Jagielka to be an intelligent player who can adapt very well to the team around him and the style of play his manager wants him to play. Early on in his career he played in midfield, across the backline and was the back up keeper for the Blades, in the days when the subs bench was much more limited in numbers. I can remember him putting the gloves on and making some good saves. He was one of those players that looked natural wherever he was asked to play.

His career suffered initially after arriving at Everton because of his utility. Jagielka was never able to settle into one position and so his form was patchy, as he would be moved here, there and everywhere, depending on where the current gap was in the team. Once he finally settled in as a centre back, he soon became fully established as the key piece in the Everton defence, a position he still held last season, when his return to the side after injury immediately made the defence look more solid.

In the air Jagielka is strong, almost to the point of being dominant. He is positionally excellent, which is why his fading legs are not the issue it could have been. As the old adage goes, the first 5 yards are in the head. Jagielka is strong in the tackle, able to cope with almost any attacker's power and strength without being outmanned in a physical confrontation very often. Decent enough on the ball, but he is not comfortable as a ball-playing defender, it is just not his game.

Jagielka is more of an old-school defender who wants to just clear his lines and get back into position, not the modern type of centre back, who wants to be a midfielder. His key quality is leadership, he is an organiser, not just a defender who defends, but a defender who makes his team-mates defend better and keeps them aware of their responsibilities.

If only his speed on the turn was better, with a real lack of acceleration as he has gotten older, he would have been one of the best centre backs in recent Premier League times, to be compared to the likes of John Terry. Jagielka does have decent pace, it is just that he is not quick off the mark and so quick feet and a fast accelerating forward are difficult for him to deal with at times, though he can often make up for it by being ahead of his opponent mentally.