Everton defender Phil Jagielka still valuable to England, says Keown

Martin Keown believes Everton's captain still has a role to play on the international stage.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka still has a role to play with England, according to Martin Keown in the Daily Mail.

The Blues defender returned to the international fold for England’s friendly with Italy on Tuesday evening, having been left out of the win over Lithuania last Friday.

However, he performed well against the Italians in Turin, and as far as Keown is concerned, he was the best defender on show for his country, despite a few hairy moments at the back.

“Jagielka was left out against Lithuania, but showed he should still be first-choice,” said Keown.

“He had a couple of hairy moments, but still looked the best defender on show in Turin, weighing in with countless clearances and blocks. He also reads the game very well.”

Jagielka better than Jones and Smalling

Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, as well as Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, have all been preferred to Jagielka recently by manager Roy Hodgson as England look to the future.

However, he partnered Smalling in the heart of the defence for the first half against the Italians, with Jones replacing his teammate there in the second half after he was forced off with illness.

As far as Keown is concerned though, the Everton man looks better than both those players at present and that means he should be first choice for his country as they look to qualify for Euro 2016.

“Right now, he [Jagielka] looks better than Smalling and Jones, who have had a lot more hype surrounding their breakthroughs into the England squad,” he added.

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