Phil Jagielka encouraged by England partnership with Gary Cahill
The England manager has used no fewer than five different centre-half pairings in the last seven matches,
Monday 03 June 2013
Phil Jagielka has been encouraged by the partnership he has struck up with Gary Cahill over the last week.
With Rio Ferdinand now retired from international football, and John Terry seemingly out of the picture for good, Roy Hodgson has set about trying to build up a solid defensive platform ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil.
The England manager has used no fewer than five different centre-half pairings in the last seven matches, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Steven Caulker earning caps in the 2012-13 season.
But Hodgson stuck with Cahill and Jagielka for the entire 90 minutes of this week's games against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland - a hint, perhaps, that the England boss sees the duo as the answer to a problem that has existed for quite a while.
England conceded three goals during those two games and given that they had only started together on five occasions before last night's 2-2 draw in the Maracana, Jagielka was happy with how he and Cahill performed.
"Getting to play two lots of 90 minutes definitely helped," the Everton captain said.
"I came here to play as many minutes as I could and thankfully I got two games and so did Gaz.
"It's always nice to try and strike up a partnership. We have not played that many games together.
"The two tests we have had have been completely different but they have been two great tests and hopefully we will go back now, start next season well and hopefully put up a good shout for next season."
Jagielka failed to track Shane Long, leading to Ireland's only goal at Wembley on Wednesday.
Both players were not quick enough to stop Fred from athletically putting Brazil ahead last night after Hernanes had struck the bar before Cahill's lax marking allowed Paulinho to level the game at 2-2 in the 82nd minute.
Had Joe Hart not put in one of the performances of his life, England could have been well behind by half-time.
But given that they had the likes of Oscar, Neymar, Hulk and Fred charging at them, Cahill thinks he and Jagielka put on a good show.
"I think we did well," the Chelsea defender said. "I think we got asked a lot of questions that we knew that we were going to be asked. "I thought generally in the game we stood up well, and so did the team.
"Coming in at 0-0 when you are under so much pressure is encouraging and it gives us a chance to go on. We could have won the game."
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