[TAB name=JAGS' ENGLAND DELIGHT]
Phil Jagielka has revealed that he thought it was a joke when he was told that he had been called up to the England squad.
It was team-mate Leon Osman who texted the good news to Jagielka, who was out with his family when the news was released to the media.
Jags admitted he didn’t take the text too seriously at first, until a number of other congratulations messages started flooding through to his phone!
The defender said: “I went out with my family for a meal after the game and when I checked my phone afterwards there were a stack of messages waiting.
“The first one I read was from Ossie saying ‘congratulations, you’re in the England squad’.
“Normally when you get something like that from him it means he’s winding you up. But the next one I had was from a secretary at the FA to tell me I had been called up. Naturally, I was over the moon and it’s put the gloss on a great year.”
“It’s a shame that Phil (Neville) and Joleon (Lescott) aren’t involved, but they’ve both spoken to me and wished me all the best. They’re buzzing for me and it should be a fantastic experience.”
Jagielka has firmly established himself in the centre of the Everton defence since joining from Sheffield United last summer, with the consistency of his performances being something that has been admired by the Blues faithful.
Although the inclusion in the England squad won’t come as a surprise to the fans, Jags insists that he was not expecting to be given the opportunity so soon.
He continued: “I suppose I’ve had a decent time of things in the second half of the season but I still didn’t expect it. I suppose it will be a bit nerve racking when I meet up with the squad at first but hopefully it will be fine once I settle down.
“I suppose you have got more of a chance of being picked out if you are part of a top five team that is performing well. We finished the season in style and we’ll all come back on the first day of pre-season raring to go again.
“There are too many people to thank for helping me. The lads kept my spirits up when I wasn’t playing but then there is the Gaffer, Taffy (Andy Holden), the physios, the kit men. It’s just great to be a part of the Everton family.”
[TAB name=WARNOCK JAGS PRAISE]
Neil Warnock always had faith that Phil Jagielka would some day earn a call up for England.
The current Crystal Palace manager was in charge at Sheffield United when Jagielka played for the Blades - which was when the Warnock saw the true potential of his versatile player.
And it was then that he made the prophecy that Jagielka would one day be a regular for his national side.
Jagielka will now be included in Fabio Capello's squad to face USA at the end of the month as well as Trinidad and Tobago in June.
Warnock was ecstatic when he was informed of the news and made sure that he let Jags know how proud he of his inclusion, by phoning him on the day that he had been selected.
During the phone call, Neil Warnock said: "Told you, son!"
"Didn't I say you'd make an England centre-half one day? I knew you'd do it."
Meanwhile Stuart McCall has revealed that he recommended Phil Jagielka to England's coaching staff some time before the former defender's inclusion call up.
Former Everton midfielder, McCall, worked with Jags when he was at Sheffield United and, like Warnock, has not been surprised to see the player fulfill the potential he showed at Bramall Lane.
"You could always tell that he was destined to play at an even higher level.
"I can remember having a conversation with a couple of the lads involved with England about what his best position would be.
"He's mature beyond his years and he was always very vocal in training when he was with us.
"At Championship level, he was a good midfielder, but in the Premier League you need different assets and I always felt that he would be a better centre-half.
"He's done exceptionally well and deserves his call-up.
"Out of the top teams, he could not have gone to a better club because Everton are well-organised and well-coached."