PHIL JAGIELKA says Everton’s strong finish to the season has earned him an England call-up – and the chance to rekindle his vintage centre back partnership with Joleon Lescott.
The Toffees vice captain admits his club side’s inconsistent seasons has led to “a frustrating time” at Goodison, even if it was worked in his favour after earning a late Euro 2012 reprieve.
Jagielka, 29, convinced Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson to draft him into the squad as the injured Gareth Barry’s replacement after an impressive display alongside Lescott against Norway on Saturday.
Jagielka has so far been able to continue his sparkling Everton form from the later stages of the season during England’s warm-up phases, and is thrilled to be in the final 23-man squad for Poland and Ukraine.
He said: “I think Everton’s strong end to the season helped me to get into the squad.
“It’s a frustrating time at Everton. We always seem to start the season quite slow and finish off one as one of the form teams for the second half of the season.
“You will have to ask the manager if that was the reason I made the squad or not. But when you are playing well in a successful team, you are bound to playing a lot better.”
And now Jagielka is understandably hoping he and Lescott can deliver in England colours.
“Me and Jole have known each other for about 10 years now back to youth level for England,” he said.
“We’re a similar age, we played a lot together at Everton. He got himself a fantastic move to Man City and has won a Premier League medal this season.
“His career’s gone on to fantastic things and I think I’ve done okay for myself.
“It’s always nice to have a familiar face next to you, especially at international football because the standard’s so high.”
“From the three games myself and Joleon have played together, we’ve had three wins.
“If you look at it from that point of view, he’ll just be as happy as I am with the results we’ve had.”
Earlier David Moyes had insisted Jagielka should have been in the squad prior to Barry’s injury anyway, and the Everton manager was pleased for his trusted defensive linchpin.
He said: I am really pleased for Jags. I said earlier I was disappointed he was only on the stand-by list because I thought he would bring something different.
“I think the way he performed in the second half of last season merited a call-up to the original squad, so I’m delighted he’s in there at last.
“When I look at some of England’s best displays, they have all come when Jags has been involved.”
Indeed Moyes believes Jagielka and Lescott, who he sold to Manchester City in summer 2009, should be Hodgson’s first choice pairing against France on June 11.
“He (Jagielka) most certainly deserves to be in and around international company and it’s great for him that he can now look forward to the Euros,” he said. “When I had him and Joleon at Everton I felt I had the next England centre-back partnership on my hands – and I still see them as such.”