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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Jags' Euro Ambition

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Sunday's visit of Newcastle United will take on added significance for Phil Jagielka, the defender knowing the clash at Goodison Park will provide his final chance to impress new England boss Roy Hodgson before this summer’s European Championships.

Everton will be vying to secure a top-seven Barclays Premier League finish against the high-flying Magpies but Jagielka, who has 10 caps, will also be looking to book his spot in Hodgson's 23-man squad for the tournament.

The centre-half has been a rock at the back for Everton in recent weeks but missed his country's last outing, a 3-2 defeat against Holland in February, on the back of a two-month lay off with a knee problem.

The Three Lions will face France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D of the competition, which kicks off a month today, and Jagielka told evertontv: "We don't know what the squad is yet and you've got to keep going until the end of the season. There's no foot off the gas.

"You've got to try to give the manager, obviously Roy Hodgson now, a headache as to who's going to go in his squad, and hopefully I've played well enough in the last few weeks at least to be up there for a shout."

Jagielka's last cap, in an impressive 1-0 win over World Champions Spain last November, came under former boss Fabio Capello, who shocked England by stepping down from the role in February.

Harry Redknapp had been the bookies favourite to replace the Italian but it was the experienced Hodgson who the Football Association ultimately turned to, the West Brom chief’s appointment being confirmed last week.

"I think it's really good," said Jagielka. "Look at his CV, look at the success he's had. Okay, he didn't have the best of times at Liverpool but one bad experience doesn't make him a bad coach or a bad manager. Hopefully Roy can do as well as he can and the boys will do well for him."

Everton go into Sunday's final game of the campaign on a run which has seen them suffer just three defeats in 22 outings but could require all three points to ensure seventh spot ahead of city rivals Liverpool and Fulham.

Newcastle, meanwhile, also require victory, their defeat to Manchester City last weekend meaning they must prevail at Goodison to have any hope of crowning their impressive campaign with qualification for the Champions League.

And Jagielka added: "It's nice to finish at home and it's nice there's something on the game. I'm sure the fans will be looking forward to it.

"We might still need some sort of result come Sunday and if that's the case I'm sure the fans will get behind us and hopefully we'll send them home happy."

Tickets for Everton's final day meeting with Newcastle are now on general sale. To buy yours, visit the Park End Box Office, call 0871 633 1878 or click here .

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