PHIL JAGIELKA believes England boss Roy Hodgson faces a tough decision over whether to stick with Jagielka’s Everton team-mate Leighton Baines or bring back Ashley Cole at left-back for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier in Poland.
Jagielka has hailed Baines as the in-form player in the Premier League this season and he again impressed during Friday’s 5-0 win over minnows San Marino at Wembley.
Cole was rested for that match because of his ongoing ankle problem and he is only two caps away from reaching 100 senior appearances for his country.
But Baines has started the last four internationals and has not looked out of place on the international stage.
Jagielka said: “It is going to be a really tough decision for the manager. Getting to watch Bainesy from a closer view than most, he has had a fantastic start to the season at club level and international level.
“It is not a bad headache for the manager to have. You’ve got Cole on 98 caps, a fantastic left-back, and then you’ve got the in-form player in the Premier League in Leighton Baines.
“As far as the manager goes he is going to have a bit of a headache but it will be a nice headache.
“I’m just glad I don’t have to make that decision. I think I’d be tossing a coin, heads or tails. But I’m sure the manager will make the right decision.”
Jagielka is now pressing hard for his own regular spot in the side at centre-back after the retirement of John Terry and the non selection of Rio Ferdinand.
He has started three of the four internationals since Euro 2012 and is in competition with former Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill.
But Jagielka does expect Lescott, one of England’s best performers during the summer in Poland and Ukraine, to return to the side in Warsaw.
Jagielka said: “In the last 10 to 11 months, many things have changed and, with John (Terry) deciding to call it a day now, it opens the door even more so now for myself, Joleon and Gary.
“We are all competing for those two places. It is not too cut and dried in terms of who is the first name down on the team sheet.
“That only makes it healthy. No one is guaranteed a place any more.
“The manager decided to freshen things up against San Marino and rest a couple of players. Joleon is one of those players who looks like he will come in on Tuesday.
“He fully deserves it. He had a fantastic Euros and has carried on from there in the England shirt and I expect him to play on Tuesday.”
Jagielka has Polish roots via the origin of his grandparents but his focus is on England securing a third win in the qualifiers to cement their place at the top of the group.
He said: “I had a lot of press and questions on it in the summer because we were going to be based in Poland.
“I’ve answered the questions before, I’ve got Polish roots but I was born and bred in England.
“I don’t speak that much Polish. It’s a game for England and I’ll be dying to get the right result for my country.
“It means a bit more with the heritage and stuff but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all about getting another cap and another win.
“We can talk afterwards about where the family is from.”
Jagielka knows the importance of England not slipping up after a previous 5-0 win in the group – against Moldova – was followed by a home draw against Ukraine.
He said: “You look at the Ukraine game and the worst thing we could have done was to concede first and as early as we did. We chased the game for most of it.
“We still created chances and Jermain Defoe had a perfectly good goal disallowed.
“But we will learn from a mistake or the experience of winning 5-0 in Moldova and then drawing against Ukraine. We will learn from that.
“We will be doing our best to make sure we get a better result after Friday’s 5-0 win.
“It won’t be a bad’s night work if we come away with a draw.
“We’d still look healthy as far as qualification for Brazil is concerned.
“We will be going to win the game but if it is 0-0 or 1-1 after 90 minutes, we will take that.”