Everton and England defender Phil Jagielka only made it to the fifth minute of the Toffees’ emphatic 3-1 victory over Reading yesterday after finding himself on the wrong end of a late tackle by Adam Le Fondre. Jagielka suffered an ankle injury as a result of Le Fondre’s over-exuberant challenge and Everton manager David Moyes was understandably unhappy.
Although no accurate prognosis has yet been made, Moyes indicated after the game at Goodison Park that he expects the 30-year-old to require surgery, presumably referring at least in part to the stitches needed to tidy up the always amusingly described “nasty gash”.
Jagielka’s absence is as poorly timed as Le Fondre’s hack, taking him out of action with Everton looking to simultaneously keep up the pressure on Chelsea and Arsenal in the increasingly faint hope of snatching the fourth UEFA Champions League place and hold off Liverpool immediately below them in seventh. A spot in the UEFA Europa League is a far more achievable target at this stage and Jagielka’s injury will do Moyes no favours in that regard either.
If Jagielka is indeed out for the best part of a month then he will also be unavailable when England manager Roy Hodgson comes to name his squad for the next two qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2014. England return to competitive play when they travel to San Marino for a fixture in Serravalle on March 22nd, a game for which England could in all honesty field a second-string team and still win without breaking a sweat.
But on March 26th it’s off to Podgorica’s City Stadium to take on Group H leaders Montenegro, a fixture already identified as a potentially crucial one for England’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup without the need for a playoff in November.
Hodgson frequently deploys Jagielka at centre back and will be keenly waiting for news of the true extent of his injury. Like all England supporters he’ll want to have his best players available for the upcoming matches, and Jagielka certainly has his trust.
(Photo credit: wonker via Flickr)
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