Phil Jagielka says England’s two upcoming friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil represent a chance for him to re-establish his position within the Three Lions’ defence.
The new Everton skipper is set to end an eight-month absence from international football by playing against Giovanni Trapattoni’s side at Wembley on Wednesday evening.
Jagielka, who has 16 senior caps to his name, last featured for England against Poland in October and has missed his country’s last four fixtures.
Since the 1-1 draw in Warsaw, he has had to settle for the role of an unused substitute twice, sitting out the friendlies against Sweden and Brazil either side of the New Year.
An ankle injury then prevented his involvement in the World Cup qualifying double-header away to San Marino and Montenegro in March.
Speaking at England’s open training session over the weekend, Jagielka said: “We don’t really know what the starting 11 is going to be come August and September so it’s all about putting down a little marker.
“Obviously club form will play a part too before then, but it’s a time to impress the manager and the coaching staff over these next few games.
“There are no points available but I’m sure everyone in the squad are looking to cement their place for the friendly in August [against Scotland] and, more importantly, the qualifier in September [against Moldova].”
Despite the retirement of both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand from international football, Jagielka acknowledges that competition for places in central defence remains fierce.
Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Joleon Lescott are all included in Roy Hodgson’s latest squad, while Ryan Shawcross, Steven Caulker, Chris Smalling and Steven Taylor have also earned call-ups since
Jagielka’s last England appearance.
“That’s what strength in depth we have got,” added the former Sheffield United man.
“There have been a couple of injuries along the way and the manager has had to change it for some games, but I’m sure he is looking at what he is going to go for as his number one partnership or a mixture of two or three players that will play the majority of the games.”