Jagielka was a true servant of the club, now we need to replace him with quality leaders

The skipper's departure means that Everton are left another leader short in a squad that Marcel Brands and Marcel Silva want to mould into a young side

Jamie Taylor 10/06/2019 21comments  |  Jump to last
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When David Moyes left Everton for Manchester United during the summer of 2013, the footballing world remarked on how rare a tenure of 11 years was in the modern game. As captain Phil Jagielka bows out of the club he has served for 12 years, fans know we may not see a servant like Jags for a long time to come. 

At the end of the ill-fated ‘Allardyce era’, fans and pundits alike remarked on Everton’s desperate need for leaders. Despite an impressive first season for Marcel Brands's and Marco Silva’s transfers, we are still crying out for a footballer that can grab games by the scruff of the neck, organise players around them, and secure us 3 points on a regular basis. 

We need to look no further than Jagielka’s Arsenal performance in April to understand what we need in our XI. Despite being told 20 mins before kick-off he was playing, Jag’s footballing intelligence was the difference on the day. Securing the 3 points against a ‘top six’ side for only the second time in 45 games, lest we forget he ensured the clean sheet. Phil Jagielka’s Everton career will be remembered through moments of leadership like this, the winning penalty in 2009’s FA Cup Semi-Final against Manchester United or his unstoppable rocket in 2014’s derby in front of the Kop

While Blues might be misty-eyed over losing a servant of 12 years, at 36, most will understand the time is right. Fans have said they hope a testimonial can be played with whichever club he ends up at; some have been dismayed at the way the club handled his departure, the announcement coming from Jags's personal social media accounts.

Sky’s Alan Myers has reported that a 1-year extension is to be signed by fellow club stalwart Leighton Baines in the coming days and, while we still have two captains in Baines and Donegal-born Seamus Coleman, neither could be predicted to be regular starters over the next two seasons. 

Baines, despite being widely recognised as one of the greatest left-backs of the Premier League era, has been dislodged from Silva’s team sheet by the players' and fans' player of the year, Lucas Digne. Coleman, albeit coming back into form towards the end of the season, was seen as the weak link in our mid-season slump. Whilst demonstrating strong leadership for Ireland for a number of years and wearing the captain’s armband for Everton last season, the likelihood that Silva and Brands will bring in a right-back to challenge Seamus for his spot means we run the risk of losing another leader on the pitch throughout next season.

Blues don’t need to be reminded of how important this transfer window is. Brands will be doing all he can to guarantee that the large number of players leaving the club are replaced by quality signings. In terms of leaders, we’ve had a number of false dawns since Martinez’s first season in which players like Tim Howard and Gareth Barry, along with Baines and Jags, ruled the roost on the pitch. Wayne Rooney, Davey Klaassen and Ashley Williams, players that don’t truly deserve to be in the same category but for one reason or another were not the leaders we needed.

Can players like the rejuvenated Micheal Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson or England’s number one, Jordan Pickford, step up to the plate next season and start pointing fingers? Gylfi is described as our footballing brain, the puppet master of our play and the link between front and back. The Icelandic international led out the team on a number of occasions this past season but was not the vocal, aggressive leader we expect or indeed need to organise what will expectedly become a more youthful team over time. Similarly, while Keane’s ability went from strength to strength in the back line last season, is he a leader?

Arguably, Jordan has been the most vocal, demanding and accomplished member of the squad in the last few seasons. For his national and club sides, he’s shown a determined organisation at the back, not afraid to hold players older or more established than him to account. However, Blues won’t need reminding of his antics at Newcastle away in March or even his off-the-field shenanigans in Sunderland, again showing the characteristics of a leader?

These are judgment calls for Marcel Brands and Marco Silva to make about current squad players, but they can be under no illusions that with Jagielka’s departure we are left another leader short in a squad they both want to mould into a young side. If we look for evidence of progress and astute player transfers, we need to look no further than Ross Barkley's and John Stones's performances for England in the Uefa Nations League Semi-Final loss to Koeman’s Dutch side. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Micheal Keane have shown leadership qualities this season that we may have never seen from Ross or John in Royal Blue shirts.


Reader Comments (21)

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Jim Harrison
1 Posted 10/06/2019 at 08:06:27
I know it makes no difference really but, for me, the captain should be centre-back or central midfield. A commanding presence in the middle.
Dermot Byrne
2 Posted 10/06/2019 at 08:27:31
Really like the guy but sometimes thought he was a bit too "nice" for a captain in modern game.
Peter Warren
3 Posted 10/06/2019 at 12:55:43
I agree with Jim, always preferred either a centre-half or central midfielder as captain. That said, I thought Neville, who I found very limited as a player, a very good captain for us so I guess horses for courses.

In our set-up, the only starter presently who can be considered captain material is Seamus. Bit worrying and I agree with the author's view that captains are needed for our team.

Derek Knox
4 Posted 10/06/2019 at 13:15:07
Agree with previous posts, ideally the Captain should be either CB or Centre Midfield. While Jags has been a great and loyal servant to the Club, as Dermot mentioned I don't recall Jags shouting and being vociferous enough to satisfy that criteria.

Seamus is vociferous and a good Captain, but how much longer will he be able to play for realistically? Unless he is Superhuman he is not likely to get any quicker either going forward or getting back to cover.

The other aspect to Seamus being on the extreme right, how does he make himself heard to a player on the opposite flank and further forward?

Fran Mitchell
5 Posted 10/06/2019 at 13:58:35
What is the captain's role, in reality? A 'leader' on the pitch? A 'role-model'? A 'figure-head' to pass on instructions? A 'motivator'?

Or is it nothing more than a symbolic status given to a player, and to facilitate in-game management – the referee talks to the captain.

Not sure, but the general idea I agree with – that we lack those players with a certain steel and drive that motivates a team to keep on going.

In some years, a certain Tom Davies could develop into that player. Whilst both Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison also have shown at times that aggression – whilst at other times it has been lacking. Gueye and Sigurdsson, however, are the two players we have who I feel 'lead by example'; losing any one of those and our team has significantly less spark.

I hope Gomes develops into the player I think he can be. He's much more than skills and nice passing, but he's a 6'-1", strong and powerful player with both technique and brawn hope he can become a real box-to-box midfield powerhouse for us.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
6 Posted 10/06/2019 at 14:47:34
Fran,

"soark" ???

Si Smith
9 Posted 10/06/2019 at 15:57:33
Niasse ! 😁
Andy Crooks
10 Posted 10/06/2019 at 17:29:04
A fine player and by all accounts a top man.

He earned a lot of money from our club so I think we should not refer to him as a fine servant. Footballers stopped being servants many years ago. We are polluted by hired hands. I think Jags "got it"; sadly we have thieves who do not and never did.

Kevin Prytherch
11 Posted 10/06/2019 at 22:26:11
In all fairness to Koeman, I think that he identified the lack of leaders in the side when he signed Ajax's captain, Swansea's and Wales captain, Iceland's captain and England's captain, as well as already having Ireland's captain as well as Baines and Jagielka.

The result - a team utterly devoid of leaders!!!

Jim Harrison
12 Posted 11/06/2019 at 06:11:42
Kevin 11,

Perhaps too many strong voices? Too many cooks scenario?

Regarding Fran 5 comment, how important is the role? Looking at the title Champions League winning or coming close teams if the past 20 years (from UK at least) the real stand-out ones, they seem to have pretty influential captains. Keane, Viera, Adams, Kompany, Gerrard, Terry. All at the peak of their careers.

Maybe the key is just having the best players!!

Jeff Spiers
13 Posted 11/06/2019 at 11:05:34
What's with the Kopites clapping in that photo???
Darren Hind
14 Posted 11/06/2019 at 21:05:01
They were in mid-song Jeff.
Jeff Spiers
15 Posted 12/06/2019 at 06:39:29
Darren, it wasn't we're gonna win the league? Surely not.


Bobby Thomas
16 Posted 12/06/2019 at 14:01:41
Baines and Jags are choirboys. There's been a leadership or mentality problem for a long, long time. The away form, which has been shocking for years, tells you that. As did the Millwall and Newcastle aways last season.

Hopefully out of all the new signings and youth leaders with stronger mentalities will emerge. Pickford, for example, is a mad, cocky, arrogant nark. He does fancy himself a little too much but that will balance out as he matures. Richarlison is quiet but very strong mentally, you can just tell. He's only 22, in his second season over here, fresh off a move and progressing very nicely. I've got my doubts about Mina as a centre back but he's a big character. Conversely, Keane just seems like more of a quieter, nicey nicey Jags/Baines type.

Its always the spine of the team where you need it. Centre mid and an inspirational talisman up top that people can feed off would go a long way to boosting the teams mentality. However the latter tends to cost.

Kieran Kinsella
17 Posted 12/06/2019 at 14:26:26
Bobby Thomas 16

Aled Jones was a choir boy and he is a leader as he leads services on Songs of Praise. Bradley Cooper was a choir boy and he led his mates through three hangovers and is "Limitless"

Tommy Carter
18 Posted 12/06/2019 at 16:08:47
@16 Bobby

Bob I agree with much of what you say. Jags was a very fine servant to this football club and an excellent player. As a leader though, he led us by example and inspired us to be as good as we could be.

Was he the kind of captain that drags an extra 10% from the team, no. But there aren’t many of those about.

I do fee collectively we are too nice. We know our place, the people’s club sounds very welcoming and we often are. We do need strong characters, some characters who are testing often have a common characteristic. They are often at a big club that is challenging to win things.

I agree that Mina has the potential to be a big personality and character. He just needs to settle into the English game and I think we could see his development increase.

We need more of this type

Tommy Carter
19 Posted 12/06/2019 at 16:08:49
@16 Bobby

Bob I agree with much of what you say. Jags was a very fine servant to this football club and an excellent player. As a leader though, he led us by example and inspired us to be as good as we could be.

Was he the kind of captain that drags an extra 10% from the team, no. But there aren’t many of those about.

I do fee collectively we are too nice. We know our place, the people’s club sounds very welcoming and we often are. We do need strong characters, some characters who are testing often have a common characteristic. They are often at a big club that is challenging to win things.

I agree that Mina has the potential to be a big personality and character. He just needs to settle into the English game and I think we could see his development increase.

We need more of this type

Tommy Carter
20 Posted 12/06/2019 at 16:08:51
@16 Bobby

Bob I agree with much of what you say. Jags was a very fine servant to this football club and an excellent player. As a leader though, he led us by example and inspired us to be as good as we could be.

Was he the kind of captain that drags an extra 10% from the team, no. But there aren’t many of those about.

I do fee collectively we are too nice. We know our place, the people’s club sounds very welcoming and we often are. We do need strong characters, some characters who are testing often have a common characteristic. They are often at a big club that is challenging to win things.

I agree that Mina has the potential to be a big personality and character. He just needs to settle into the English game and I think we could see his development increase.

We need more of this type

Roman Sidey
21 Posted 26/06/2019 at 20:19:55
Jags wasn't a good leader. Not by a long shot. He accepted far too much mediocrity, never let the refs know we were on the field, and stared at the ground when being interviewed after matches. He was a very good centre-back in his 20s, but he rarely showed the same class after his knee injury in 2009.

It ticked me off a fair bit when, in 2016, he missed out on selection for the Euros and he said he had to go home and take out his frustration on some drywall with a sledgehammer. How many times did he take out any frustration on his opponents during matches?

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 04/07/2019 at 18:00:13
He’s gone back to Sheffield United on a twelve month contract according to The Daily Mail today.
Jay Harris
23 Posted 04/07/2019 at 18:14:28
Good luck to the man. He was a true pro and extremely loyal and dedicated to the club unlike the likes of Lukaku and Pogba.

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