Carragher urges Martinez to start Everton's Phil Jagielka in FA Cup semi-final

Everton DD

Everton face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.

Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher says Everton must play Phil Jagielka in their upcoming FA Cup semi-final encounter with Manchester United even if he is only at 80%, the Daily Mail report.

The Toffees are looking to bounce back from their Premier League struggles with a win over United, a result which may somewhat lift the pressure off under-fire boss Roberto Martinez.

In order to defeat to the Red Devils, the Merseyside club must improve on their defending where only one clean sheet has been kept in their last nine league games leading up to the semi-final.

Commenting ahead of the match in his column for the Daily Mail, Carragher has urged Martinez to recall Jagielka to the starting eleven despite the defender recovering from a hamstring strain.

“If Everton are to end Rooney and Manchester United’s FA Cup dreams, they will have to defend properly and a lot will depend on Phil Jagielka’s fitness. Even if he is only 80 per cent recovered from a hamstring problem, this is a game Jagielka has to play,” Carragher wrote.

“John Stones has been linked with a host of clubs once again since Everton’s 4-0 defeat in the derby and while he needs to play at Wembley, Roberto Martinez cannot afford to be without Jagielka, who has given tremendous service to Everton over the last nine years.”

Jagielka has been in and out of Everton’s first-team this season as injuries and age catch up on him.

The 33-year-old has started 20 Premier League matches, and in his absence, John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori have struck a partnership which has raised plenty of questions from pundits and observers alike.

While Jagielka may not move as freely as he once did, the experienced defender is excellent in the air, reads the game well at the back and most importantly has superb positional awareness.

Martinez needs a result against United to relieve the pressure, and in order to do so he will need his most commanding centre-back back in the starting eleven and at the top of his game.

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