PHIL JAGIELKA and Sylvain Distin could end their careers at Everton.
England defender Jagielka, 30, signed a new deal yesterday which runs to 2017, while defensive partner Distin, 35, is expected to be offered a new deal shortly.
And former Everton defender and ESPN analyst Martin Keown believes the pair are integral to Everton’s bid for Champions League football next season.
The pair have partnered each other in central defence on 11 occasions this season, and Keown said: “In Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin Everton have two defenders who really complement each other.
“One of the things which really stands out when you watch Jagielka is the number of blocks he gets in.
“He does extremely well inside his own penalty box, while Distin’s strength comes working the channels where he can use his power and strength.
“To keep playing as well as he does at his age is commendable. And they are just as valuable to Everton as the likes of Marouane Fellaini.”
Jagielka’s existing deal was due to run until the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
His extension now takes him until beyond his 34th birthday.
Blues Chief Executive Robert Elstone said: “We are delighted Phil has agreed to commit his long-term future here at Goodison Park.
“Phil is a hugely important and influential player and I, like many Evertonians, look forward to seeing him play in a Blue shirt for many years to come.”
After signing from Sheffield United for £4m in the summer of 2007, Jagielka was used initially in central midfield and at full-back.
But after returning to his favoured central defensive role he flourished and won a call up to the England squad in June 2008.
He has since won 16 caps and scored his first international goal last year against Italy – and has captained the Blues in the absence of club skipper Phil Neville.
View Jags' Everton career in pictures: liverpoolecho .co.uk/efc