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
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star