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Captain Jagielka not guaranteed a starting place

13/09/2014  Comments (25)  jump
Roberto Martinez admits that Phil Jagielka is still finding his way back to form after disappointment at the World Cup with England and cautions that his status as club captain does not mean he has an automatic place in the side.

Like his Everton teammate, Leighton Baines, Jagielka came in for harsh criticism — many would argue unduly harsh individual scrutiny — for England's poor defensive displays in Brazil and he is again under the microscope along with Sylvain Distin after the Blues' defence leaked 10 goals in the opening three matches of the new season.

Martinez isn't surprised to see the 32-year-old's form suffer, particularly given a stop-start year during which he also missed a number of games for his club through injury, but he saw encouraging signs in his cameo against Switzerland last Monday has backed his skipper to come good.

Being captain is a massive role but that doesn't guarantee you anything in respect of playing, Martinez said. I always thought Phil Jagielka, like any player that comes back from the World Cup, was going to have a period to get back to his best. It takes time.

"Phil is a leader, someone you can rely on, and the first one who wants to get back to his best level. I thought his performance with England will help him a lot in terms of having to perform in the hardest moment of the game. Phil will be a very important player for us but no one has playing time guaranteed, that's for sure.

Asked about his assessment of his team's defensive weaknesses in general, Martinez is confident that the players can get back to the level they enjoyed last season.

I don't think it's a major problem at all," he continued. "It's something we have to fix and something we need to address. Defensively, we had the third best record in the league last season. Maybe at the moment, since that late goal at Leicester, our confidence was a little bit touched.

This season it's not as assured as they were last season. I think it's something we need to get back in ourselves.

Quotes sourced from The Guardian

Reader Comments (25)

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Brent Stephens
2 Posted 13/09/2014 at 05:19:18
Is Roberto letting us all know that Jags ain’t playing at The Hawthorns? Or playing mind games with the opposition? I wouldn’t be surprised at the former, especially with Europe coming up – Stones in for today, Jags for Thursday?

Craig Fletcher
3 Posted 13/09/2014 at 06:13:50
ThereÂ’ll certainly be some level of rotation over the next three weeks Brent, but youÂ’d imagine RMÂ’s "first pick" would play in the Premier League matches. The likes of Stones, Besic, Gibson, Atsu, Kone (if fit) will start one or two games before the Man Utd game youÂ’d think.
Mark Tanton
4 Posted 13/09/2014 at 06:42:24
Seems he may have already had a difficult conversation with Jags about today...
Anthony Burke
5 Posted 13/09/2014 at 06:48:55
IÂ’d stick with Jags. Dropping him may affect his already shot confidence.

A clean sheet and a solid performance today could do him the world of good.

Brian Hill
6 Posted 13/09/2014 at 06:53:12
Good statement from RM. Jagielka at his best is a marvellous player: he is very far from his best right now.

I reckon that RM is a lot more ruthless than his public "phenomenal" persona would indicate. This is a man who wants to reach the very top of his profession. He will do at Everton, given time and sufficient support.

David Greenwood
7 Posted 13/09/2014 at 07:49:05
Totally agree with the above, Brian.

What is said in public is going to be miles away from what he says to his players in private. No manager worth his salt criticizes his players in public these days.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 13/09/2014 at 08:16:08
He has gone about this the right way, Martinez (as he usually does).

Basically he is not being critical of a player but being a realist and suggesting that nobody is a guaranteed regular starter.

All the rumours I have heard from quite good sources are that, on transfer deadline day, Martinez offered Stoke ٦ million for Shawcross which was rejected being so late in the day with Stoke having no time to replace him.

I believe that in January we will certainly bring in a central defender. We just have to hope that, amongst the four established first team centre-halves we have, that they

1) Find some serious form and,
2) Stay clear of injury.

Peter Murray
9 Posted 13/09/2014 at 08:53:03
Jags is a model professional and leads by example. He is necessary on the pitch.

Play him today and kick-start our season – a clean sheet and a few good goals.

A 3-0 win would do nicely.

John Crook
10 Posted 13/09/2014 at 08:57:22
John Stones – get him in and play him in every league game! Let him make his mistakes now and learn from them. He already looks so composed at his tender age.

I was surprised Roberto never thought Stones had the right to start the season at centre back. I always thought that the Heitinga/ Distin and Stones/ Distin was a better partnership than the Jagielka/Distin duo. Jagielka is a top notch defender when fully fit and in form but for me hasnÂ’t struck up a rock solid partnership with anyone since he was paired with Lescott circa 2008-09.

In my opinion, Jagielka is the wrong choice as captain.

Tony Cheek
11 Posted 13/09/2014 at 09:18:54
Sounds pretty ominous to me, expect to see Jags warming the bench today. He will go with Stones and Distin.......or?
Harold Matthews
12 Posted 13/09/2014 at 10:38:18
I prefer Jags to Stones but both look very dodgy right now. Galloway, Browning and Garbutt are the future but we urgently need a 24- to 28-year-old, no nonsense, experienced CB to stabilize a shaky ship and may have to wait till January.
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 13/09/2014 at 11:40:15

Prefer Jags to Stones but both look pretty dodgy at the minute?

Stones hadnÂ’t had a look in at centre half yet to look anything let alone dodgy.

When we won those 7 matches on the spin last season from March to April, it coincided with a central defensive partnership of Stones and Distin, with Stones in particularly looking calm and composed on the ball, none more so than in the fabulous win at Newcastle. If anything, and on the form of last season, it should have really been Stones starting, not Jags.

I have liked Jagielka over the years; I enjoyed the Jagielka/Lescott partnership especially, but over the last few years there’s no getting away from the fact he’s lost something... Whether it’s since that injury, who knows? — but his whole thought process, dawdling on the ball, being out-jumped, it’s all happening too often nowadays.

Anthony Burke
14 Posted 13/09/2014 at 11:46:51
I agree with John regarding being captain but, for me, he has to start league games. Stones will eventually be bedded into the side permanently but not just now, for me.
Harold Matthews
15 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:06:13
Sorry Jim. I donÂ’t rate him.
Ed Fitzgerald
16 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:41:00

I donÂ’t rate Jagielka and never have done, so itÂ’s a matter of opinion I guess. He was always going to struggle with a manager who demands that all players be comfortable on the ball something he has never been.

Ray Roche
17 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:46:54
Both Jags and Distin were brought in by Moyes as no nonsense defenders, to ask them to adapt to the Martinez way was always going to highlight their deficiencies on the ball. Stones, on the other hand, although a Moyes buy, is clearly a different sort of player and will eventually develop into a cultured ball playing Centre Half.

Ed, I always rated Jags as a DEFENDER but, whether a result of injury, has gone way off the boil.

Ged Simpson
18 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:53:18
Great for Moyes, crap for Martinez.

Who is manager?

So.......adios if we had the cash

Jackie Barry
19 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:54:49
While asking them to be comfortable on the ball is a big ask (It does make me laugh though, because they are footballers getting paid a fortune!), my biggest gripe with them both is that they have been switching off on too many occasions, sometimes just standing there with a Homer Simpson look on their faces - DOH!
Thomas Lennon
20 Posted 13/09/2014 at 13:58:58
Stones in for ......Distin!
Jim Bennings
21 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:16:53
Is it an injury for Distin?

This is the exact thing I said we had to worry about with having just four out and out first team centre halves, if we get a few injuries to them then we are going to look very short in that area.

Jackie Barry
22 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:23:25
I agree Jim it is a worry, but I believe most teams have about the same number of players for that position.
Trevor Lynes
23 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:28:31
That post, even mentioning Heitinga in the same breath as Jagielka is an insult IMO.
Ian Tunstead
24 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:35:17
Surely a managerÂ’s job is to get the best out of the players he has by playing to their strengths? We have an experienced and solid England International. Another very experienced top Premier League centre-back and arguably two of the best full backs in the league while also playing two very good defensive midfielders... yet we are leaking goals for fun = poor management.
Michael Kenrick
26 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:07:30
I don't think we were "leaking goals for fun" today, Ian. Does that mean the pendulum swings back for the manager? Clean sheet = brilliant manager?

I don't think either equation is justified, to be honest. Lots of things good and bad happen on the field during a game. To isolate some of the positives and make out that the manger is untouchable is as bad as isolating some of the negatives and condemning the manager for them. I think a bit of perspective is required.

On the whole, I think like many that Roberto Martinez is brilliant for us as Everton manager. That doesn't mean everything he does is brilliant or everything that happens on the pitch is equally brilliant.

Defensive mistakes in the first three games led to goals conceded (Note: NOT "for fun"). Defensive mistakes in the fourth game led to no goals conceded. That's football.

Ian Tunstead
27 Posted 14/09/2014 at 13:46:39
Michael, I never said RM was a poor manager, I said it was poor management that had led us to leak goals for fun, no doubt because of the awful preparation during pre-season.

So no, one clean sheet does not make him a brilliant manager, especially against such a poor side as West Brom, luckily the mighty Anichebe wasnÂ’t around to break down our walls.

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