Everton boss Roberto Martinez on the recent impact of captain Phil Jagielka

Jagielka

Martinez has hailed the leadership qualities of Phil Jagielka.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has, in quotes carried by the Liverpool Echo, praised the impact club captain Phil Jagielka has had on the development of John Stones, leading them to become what he believes is one of the best centre-back partnerships in the Premier League.

Stones was courted by Chelsea during the summer, as covered by the Daily Mirror, but the Toffees remained firm in their 'not for sale' stance, and as a result have been able to maintain a solid central defensive pairing. 

But in the Liverpool Echo, Martinez is full of praise for his captain and the contribution he has made to the side.

He said: “Last season he took on such an incredible commanding role, being a captain and pushing the team through difficulties, but they have become really strong and understand each other really well.

“That is why I didn’t want to break that partnership and make too many changes in that back four and it was great to see the influence of those two, along with Tim Howard, allowing two youngsters to feel comfortable so that they could keep a clean sheet against a team that is going to challenge you with a lot of goalscoring threat."

As Martinez goes on to say, he has a side that is set up to play attacking football, so the personnel at the heart of the defence become all the more important - and they've made a relatively solid start to the campaign, adding a clean sheet against Swansea City over the weekend to a collection of solid performances at the start of this season. 

Jagielka's leadership is also more of a factor when taking into account the absence of a key player in Leighton Baines, with Brendan Galloway filling in his absence and Tyias Browning taking the place of Seamus Coleman on the right during the draw at Swansea. The older head has been able to guide those youngsters through a big game and keep the Toffees on a positive path.

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