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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

Phil Jagielka insists he can rely on his team-mates to help ease his transition into the role of Everton captain – even if it means a bit more stick is thrown his way.

It is a challenge the England centre half is relishing and believes it’s the consistency of the squad that should make it easy for him to lead the Blues under Roberto Martinez.

“I’m sure they’ll wind me up and make my life a little bit harder but I’ve known these guys long enough now, so I should know when they’re taking the mick or being serious,” Jagielka told evertontv in the latest Captains Week instalment.

“It’s very special that I have been here with the majority of the squad for a long time now. Over 60 per cent of the squad have been here for at least four or five seasons. Speaking to Felli, he has completed his fifth season. Time has flown.
“I’m really good friends with pretty much everyone in the changing room so it is nice to have been given the captaincy of a group of lads that I pretty much know in and out, and have had a great time with.”

No stranger to the armband of course, Jagielka is aware that it will take a little bit of time to fully immerse himself in the role as full-time skipper. But he is confident he can follow in the footsteps of former captain Phil Neville.

“I’ve been vice-captain before even at a young age at Sheffield United,” he added. “On the pitch I find it quite easy because although it is more responsibility, it is still playing football.

“Off the pitch it is going to be a bit more different because I normally come in and do what I do and then get off but as captain you have a few more responsibilities that come with that.

“It’s come at a perfect time for me, I’m 30 now and I’ve been at the club for long enough to know how the club works. I know most of the players here really well so I’d like to think I can do a pretty good job.”

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