England v Republic of Ireland: Phil Jagielka is in mood to state Three Lions case

Everton defender may lack swagger but has pedigree to fill gap left by Rio Ferdinand and John Terry

It was after this month's goalless Merseyside derby at Anfield that David Moyes, then still his Everton manager, said that an England place was there for the taking for Phil Jagielka on the back of arguably his finest season yet.

Moyes suggested the only thing the 30-year-old Mancunian lacked was self-belief, though anybody who witnessed his immense performance that day, encapsulated by several immaculately timed blocks and interceptions, might think he makes a convincing case already for the vacant role of England's defensive leader, now that Rio Ferdinand and John Terry are no longer around.

Jagielka may lack the obvious swagger of some top-level footballers – he punctuated his pitch-side press briefing at St George's Park with a series of smiles and wisecracks – yet his easy-going nature did not stop Moyes appointing him as Everton's new club captain earlier this year, and the player himself insists he enjoys the responsibility of leadership.

"Once I am comfortable in a place I am quite a loud person anyway," he said. "It does come quite naturally to me. That is the way I do play. If you ask my central defensive partners and full-backs who have played alongside me I try and talk as much as possible."

As for the perceived lack of belief of a player once rejected as a schoolboy by Everton, Jagielka had the following to say: "I have never thought of myself as being particularly shy or lacking self-confidence but I can understand what [Moyes] means. It is not in my character to be super confident. Once you are like that, there is only one way to go. I probably do play better when I am a bit more arrogant but that is not really the person I am and I don't think it will be the person I turn into."

Jagielka credits Moyes, who signed him from Sheffield United in 2007, for his help in his development from "being possibly a Premier League defender to playing some games for England".

Jagielka is only just 6ft but has compensated for a lack of stature with speed and anticipation. "I am not the biggest centre-half in the world. I have had to adapt my game to how it suits me best. Hopefully, on the international stage it will suit me as well," he said.

Yet if he feels in his prime as a club footballer – "I do feel good and I was playing in a team that has been doing well" – now is about taking that next step with England. Although an unused substitute at Euro 2012, he scored his first international goal in England's 2-1 defeat of Italy in August and retained his starting place for the three autumn World Cup qualifiers, taking his number of caps to 16.

Sadly, an ankle injury then meant he missed the March fixtures against San Marino and Montenegro at a time when the position was "up for grabs", with Hodgson having started six different central defensive pairings this term. After that setback, this week's two friendlies duly hold real significance for a player for whom next summer's World Cup could be a case of now or never.

The fact he partnered Gary Cahill in the open training session may be a positive sign for tomorrow's match with the Republic of Ireland, an "English Premier League-style game" that will be followed by something completely different: Jagielka's first visit to Rio de Janeiro.

"To go and play Brazil in their back garden will be a fantastic opportunity and, hopefully, to test the water for next year," he said, albeit, true to type, he did not wish to get too far ahead of himself. "I am not going to put too much pressure on myself. I will take it as it comes and, hopefully, if you speak to me in a year's time I will have had a few more caps. And maybe I will be a little more arrogant!"

Hodgson warns fans against abusive chants

Some 150 England fan club members affected by last October's abandoned World Cup qualifier in Poland had the privilege of watching Roy Hodgson's national squad at an open training session at St George's Park, but the Football Association will hope this PR goal will not be followed by an own-goal by their supporters when the Republic of Ireland visit Wembley tomorrow.

The FA has emailed a letter from Hodgson to all England ticket holders for the game, the countries' first meeting since England fans caused the abandonment of their February 1995 friendly in Dublin. "We ask those attending to not take part in any chanting – particularly of a religious or political perspective – which could cause offence to our visitors or fellow fans," Hodgson urges.

The full-back Kyle Walker has withdrawn from the squad with a fibula injury.

Simon Hart

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power