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Jags Challenges Youngsters

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Everton v QPR
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Skipper Phil Jagielka says a challenge has been laid down to Everton's younger players to keep their place in the team following Sunday's opening pre-season friendly against Austria Vienna.

Joel Robles, Tyias Browning, Shane Duffy, Conor Grant, Matthew Kennedy, Conor McAleny, Francisco Junior and goalscorer Apostolos Vellios all got the opportunity to impress against the Austrian champions and earned praise from their new Club captain for a series of bright displays.

But with the likes of Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Nikica Jelavic, John Heitinga, Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz yet to return to the fold, Jagielka says everyone will need to keep working hard to catch the eye.

"In terms of their attitudes and their ability, they've all done really well," said Jagielka. "It's nice for the manager to give them all game time. He could have just brought them all on for 10 minutes at the end but it was nice that most of them got 45 minutes.

"It's a test now to see if they can stay in the squad when a few more senior members come back."

Jagielka's first game since being officially appointed captain was also a first at the helm for manager Roberto Martinez.

The England defender has so far relished working with the Spaniard and explained how pre-season training has already been a wholly different experience to years gone by.

"It's been drastically different to what we've done before but it's been enjoyable," he said. "It's been a lot more training with the balls and a lot more concentration required - and that sometimes isn't the easiest thing when you're tired.

"It's been tough but pre-season is always tough.

"Sunday's result wasn't exactly what we wanted but we can still look at a few positives and this can put us in good stead for the next few weeks."

To find out what else Phil had to say about Sunday's game, watch the video above or navigate to the 'Video' section of the Official Everton App.

Watch the Blues' second bout of pre-season action only on evertontv Live, when Martinez takes his side to Accrington Stanley on Wednesday evening (7.45pm kick-off). Click here to purchase your package now.

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