herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Koeman: Phil still important player

Everton’s Phil Jagielka.
Everton’s Phil Jagielka.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka has penned a one-year contract extension to keep him at Goodison Park until 2019 in advance of tonight's Europa League third qualifying round second leg clash in Slovenia.

The 34-year-old moved to Merseyside from Sheffield United a decade ago and has represented England on 40 occasions.

He had been linked with a transfer away this summer but boss Ronald Koeman is light on defenders due to long-term injuries to Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori.

It is 22 years since Everton last lifted some silverware but after an impressive summer recruitment drive that has seen them land the likes of Wayne Rooney, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford, Jagielka hopes he can finally win something at Goodison.

"The club is moving forward," he said. "I do not think the transfer business is finished but it is good that we have got people in nice and early. For the chairman to offer me the extra year... hopefully I can play my role, whatever that might be.

"Realistically, winning a trophy is an aim this season, next season and into the future. We want to be competing for things.

"We have the European game (against Ruzomberok), we want to get through that, then we will look forward to competing in four competitions this season and performing in every one."

The Toffees are aiming to take one step closer to the play-offs as they travel to Slovakia to take on the resilient Fortuna Liga outfit Everton take a one-goal lead with them following Leighton Baines' strike as they won 1-0 at Goodison Park last week and manager Koeman will be keen for his side to finish the job at the Stadion pod Cebratom.

Koeman said Jagielka is held in high esteem in his dressing room, adding: "With his commitment to the club and more than 10 years of experience here at Everton, Phil is a natural captain and his continued level of fitness contributes also to him being a really important player for us."

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