World Cup 2014: Phil Jagielka refuses to let talk of John Terry spoil his Brazilian dream

Everton defender is determined to emerge from the shadows at the World Cup, take his chance and repay faith of manager Roy Hodgson

Football Correspondent

At the European Championship two years ago, Phil Jagielka was among the England players who did not feature for a single minute of the tournament and, along with his Everton team-mate Leighton Baines, spent his days waiting for the opportunity that never came.

It has since changed for both of them; they are expected to be half of the England defence that starts against Italy in Manaus on 14 June. Baines has seen off Ashley Cole and Jagielka’s life changed the moment that John Terry announced his retirement from international football in September in a fit of anger with the Football Association. It brought an end to Terry’s decade of dominance at the centre of the England defence and it opened a door to new era.

Perhaps, for Jagielka, now the Everton captain under two managers at the club, it would have been better to have seen off Terry on form alone – as Baines has done with Cole. Not that Terry has ever offered many opportunities for anyone to usurp him. Because, as things stand, that nagging call for Terry to be coaxed back into the fold by Roy Hodgson just will not go away.

The last time the debate was raised, ahead of the friendly against Denmark in March, was in Jagielka’s absence with a hamstring injury. Then the case to bring Terry back was championed by the likes of Gary Lineker and moved to the top of the agenda before the game. Hodgson responded by saying that Terry was not under consideration – “retirement is retirement” – but it is there nonetheless, and Jagielka, not one to dodge an issue, knows that.

His record for England alongside Gary Cahill, Terry’s defensive partner at Chelsea, is very solid. In the 11 games they have started for Hodgson, England have not lost once. Jagielka played seven of the World Cup qualifiers in this late flowering international career of his; a career that got under way in earnest in that friendly against Italy that followed Euro 2012 in which he scored the first goal. The following month Terry quit England over the FA’s decision to pursue the Anton Ferdinand race case against him, in spite of him being cleared in court.

 

“It’s difficult. I can’t say I particularly like to hear it [Terry offering England a better option], but I understand why people do,” Jagielka said after training at St George’s Park yesterday. “Obviously Gaz [Gary Cahill] and JT [Terry] play together at Chelsea, they play in the Champions League and were contenders to win the Premier League. As a defender, partnerships are important. If you have two players who work well together they may be a better bet than two superior players. So I can understand why people talk about Terry.

“I can’t control what people say. I was asked the other day, ‘While our [England] attack looks good would our defence be OK?’ I felt like laughing. Our defensive record in the qualifiers was pretty decent, but I can’t stop what people are going to ask. ”

The crucial final four games in qualification – including the 0-0 draw in Kiev against Ukraine – saw England concede just once with Jagielka ever-present. It was the Ukraine game in September that drew the most criticism for the limitations of England’s attacking ambition, which meant that the defensive performance – arguably Cahill and Jagielka’s best – tended to be overlooked.

At 31, Jagielka is one of the older heads in the squad but with just 24 caps he is still relatively new to international football. The young players, he said, had fewer worries about the past or reasons to be inhibited.

“The squad that Roy has picked is quite young and there are not too many skeletons to come out of the closet. The bunch itself coasts through, we have a great mix of experienced lads who have been playing for England forever it seems and then you have the young lads who have come in and aren’t afraid of anything. They want to show you what they have got. It is going to be interesting to see how Roy puts those two elements together.

“When you play for England you’ve got to seize the moment. My career path has been slightly different to some of the lads who’ve been involved with England since they were teenagers. If I’d have been given the chance at the Euros I’d have done my best to have seized it, and I’ll do my best this time.

“I know that at 31 I won’t be around forever. This could be my only tournament, I understand that. I hope it isn’t. I try to keep myself fit and look at lads who play on into their 30s. It’s my first World Cup, it could be my last, and I’m determined to enjoy it.”

He had played just one season in the Premier League with Sheffield United when he joined Everton in 2007 and since then Jagielka’s career path has continued to take him upwards, slowly but steadily.

Not a bad position from which to judge the current debate over young English talent against that which is produced by the European nations like Spain, who called up Jagielka’s former Everton team-mate Gerard Deulofeu this week.

“Gerry came in and he was quite a selfish player,” Jagielka said. “He has a tremendous amount of ability and went past people. We are probably taught to be less selfish but technically there is no difference. The ideal comparison is Raheem [Sterling] to Deulofeu and for me Raheem had the best season. That is a direct comparison. It is too easy to point the finger, when if you take a step back to look at what we have got, we have some tremendously talented individuals.

“If you look at what Ross Barkley has got: a good physique, good in the air, and more importantly loves the game of football. You cannot get him off the training ground – this season has proved how much he has grown mentally. He went through a bad period but the manager stood by him and he came out of it. He has got the whole package. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him but if you ask people for their opinions of him, they will be positive.”

Of course, England will do nothing in Brazil without a capable defence. That Hodgson has left Terry in retirement tells you the extent of his faith in Jagielka.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
music
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

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace