The Everton defender has slipped down the pecking order at Goodison Park following a knee injury as he waits to hear if he will get the nod for FA Cup showdown with LiverpoolEXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Phil Jagielka has held talks with David Moyes about his Everton future amid fears over losing his place in England’s Euro 2012 squad.
Goal.com understands that the defender is concerned that he has slipped down the England pecking order after losing his regular club starting role following a knee injury earlier this year.
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Jagielka was reassured by Moyes during discussions last month that he remains a key part of his plans and told him there were few better centre-backs in England.
Everton’s glut of fixtures, including 10 in the last six weeks, have forced Moyes to rotate his three central defenders since that conversation, allowing Jagielka to come back into the reckoning after Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga formed such an effective partnership during his eight-week lay-off.
Since returning to the team in the 3-0 drubbing at Liverpool on March 10 after two matches on the bench, Jagielka has started five of Everton’s eight games. Distin has started six and Heitinga five.
Moyes now faces a big call on which two of the three central defenders to field against Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, Everton’s biggest match of the season to date.
Distin, who was rested for Monday’s 4-0 thrashing of Sunderland, is regarded as an almost certain starter, with Moyes facing a late decision on whether to pair him with Dutchman Heitinga or Jagielka.
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Intriguingly, Jagielka, who turns 30 in August, has featured for only nine minutes of Everton’s five-match FA Cup campaign this season. He spoke last month about how his confidence had been battered by his performance in the Merseyside derby and being a regular on the bench.
The former Sheffield United player is more likely to get the nod if Moyes feels that Andy Carroll will start up front for Liverpool alongside Suarez.
Injury kept Jagielka out of England’s friendly defeat to Holland in February but, in the last of his 10 international caps, he played the full 90 minutes alongside former team-mate Joleon Lescott when Spain were defeated 1-0 last November.
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