Phil Jagielka unsure over Everton's Fair Play Europa League opportunity


The Everton defender says the team would embrace European football again, but it would be a stretch for the squad.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka has told the club’s official website that he is unsure over his feelings about the Fair Play league and a potential Europa League spot.

The Toffees are currently competing with West Ham United for second place in the mini-league, with the eventual holder of the spot likely to be handed a place in the first qualifying round of next season’s continental competition.

As Liverpool currently hold top spot, and they are set to qualify via their league position, the Europa League berth drops to the side in second place. However, the competition is set to stay as early as 2 July, and Jagielka admits it would be a big strain on the squad, but they would embrace it nonetheless.

“It’s a difficult one,” he said.

“We always want to finish as high as possible in the league and we want to finish in Europe. But if we are in the [Europa League] competition – and it is a competition we can do well in – we will be happy to play in it.”

Ironically, Everton and West Ham come up against each other at Upton Park this weekend, with the fixture likely to prove decisive in who gets second place in the Fair Play league.

Criteria that contributes towards Fair Play points includes ‘positive play, respect of the opponent, respect of the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals'.

Jagielka, though, insists all that the players will be focusing on is a win come Saturday afternoon.

“If we want to play for Everton, we have to make it hard for the manager not to play us next season,” he added.

“If you think any players will be taking it lightly, you should be wrong. We need to go there and perform. The fans are going to down there and it has been well documented that ticket prices have been quite high for them for that game.”

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