Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes centre-back Phil Jagielka deserves more credit for his consistency in the past year as the Blues boss looks to build on his side’s solid start to the season.
Jagielka has been a mainstay in the heart of Everton’s defence for the past few years, fostering partnerships with Sylvain Distin and John Stones at Goodison Park.
However, with Stones ruled out of Sunday’s Merseyside derby, Jagielka played alongside new signing Ramiro Funes Mori against Liverpool and both players turned in fine performances to keep their local rivals at bay.
Martinez says the former Sheffield United man’s contribution for Everton has often been overlooked and the England international’s consistency should now be highlighted.
Martinez told the Liverpool Echo: “I think it’s about time that Phil Jagielka gets the credit that he deserves. In my eyes he has been the most consistent and best English centre-half we have had in the last 12 months.
“It is no coincidence anyone who plays alongside him performs. Anyone who plays in that back four is given the opportunity to express themselves and allowed to be effective and that’s down to Phil Jagielka.”
Everton sit well-placed for a top-four challenge this season after the 1-1 draw with the Reds, Martinez’s men are seventh after eight games, just two points off the Champions League places.
Following the international break, Everton host title hopefuls Manchester United on October 17. Everton are 3.30 to win, United are 2.15 and the draw is 3.25.