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Jagielka Focused On Ukraine


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Phil Jagielka says England’s 4-0 win over Moldova was perfect preparation for a far trickier test against Ukraine this coming Tuesday.

The Everton skipper earned his 20th cap at Wembley as the Three Lions cruised to a win that catapulted them to top spot in World Cup qualifying Group H.

However, England could be dislodged by their forthcoming opponents should they suffer a defeat in Kiev.

Roy Hodgson’s side beat Ukraine 1-0 on their own patch at last summer’s European Championships – and Jagielka is targeting a repeat result in three days’ time.

"A lot of people maybe weren't thinking too much about this [Moldova] game, though the players and staff were,” Jagielka said. “The fans were probably looking forward more to the game in Kiev.

"It was important to get the win, it was a decent enough win, we rested a couple of players to make sure they didn't get injured or suspended so hopefully that will put us in good stead for Tuesday.

“A performance out there could put us closer to qualifying."

Ukraine warmed up for Tuesday’s meeting with a 9-0 thumping of San Marino on Friday.

But Jagielka believes the clean sheet against Moldova has buoyed England’s defence leading into their trip to eastern Europe.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game as we were expected to win by a decent margin," he continued. "It was nice to get the early goal and on the whole I think we played quite well.

"I don't think Joe [Hart] had too much to do, but it's as important for defenders to keep clean sheets as it is for the strikers to get the goals.

"The boys did well up top today and a clean sheet is good all round."

A host of Everton players were involved in Friday's internationals, including Ross Barkley who made his full England debut. Click here for a full round-up.

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