Everton captain Phil Jagielka has revealed he’s relishing the chance to mentor some of the club’s young defenders over the coming season.
The 32-year-old is the senior statesman in the heart of the Toffees defence following the departure of Sylvain Distin over the summer, with the likes of Brendan Galloway, Tyias Browning and Matthew Pennington all featuring over the course of pre-season.
The England international has been impressed by how well the trio have performed in the friendly matches and he is convinced they are good enough to step into the first team during the upcoming campaign.
He said: “I’ve been impressed with them. It is a position that we are probably a little bit light on as far as experience goes but we are more than happy with the standard of the lads coming through.”
John Stones is another young defender at Goodison Park and he is likely to partner Jagielka in the heart of the Blues’ defence for their season opener against Watford on Saturday.
The former Sheffield United player confirmed that he has been trying to offer all the youngsters as much advice as he can during pre-season and he has enjoyed the challenge of mentoring the talent within the squad.
He continued: “But it is a good challenge for me and I try to give all of them as much information as I can on and off the pitch. The young lads try and listen as much as they can and hopefully they will have a good future ahead of them.”
The Toffees finished 11th in the Premier League last season, but they will be hoping to challenge for European qualification in the upcoming campaign after they secured a fifth place finish two years ago.