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The USA keeper says the defender has grown to become Everton's "rock" and is backing his Toffees team-mate to keep local rivals Liverpool at bay at Goodison Park on Sunday

Tim Howard believes Everton "rock" Phil Jagielka's recent form should see him rewarded with a regular run in the England team.

The USA international was full of praise for Jagielka after an "immense" defensive display in the Toffees' 1-1 draw with QPR on Sunday, ensuring David Moyes' side left Loftus Road with a point despite being reduced to 10-men following Steven Pienaar's red card in the second half.

And the Everton keeper is more than confident that Jagielka will continue his impressive form and lead the side to victory when Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side make the short trip across Stanley Park this coming weekend.

"Jags was immense. He's a leader, he's solid - and he was an animal against QPR," Howard said.

"He's grown and grown and looks like he will cement himself in the England team playing like that. He's been doing that for us for years.

"He's been a rock at Everton for a long time and we need him to have the momentum going into the derby."

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