Ash And Jags: The Captains Combo

by Rob Urbani
@Everton

Ashley Williams believes he is already building a promising partnership with Phil Jagielka in the heart of Everton’s defence - even after just one match.

The centre-halves lined up alongside each other for the first time against Stoke City a fortnight ago - and there were encouraging early signs as the pair, aided by Mason Holgate and Leighton Baines on the flanks, kept the Potters at arms' length to register a clean sheet.

Williams, 32, believes the fact that he and Jagielka, 34, are similar style players, with a comparable amount of experience, complements their understanding.

“I played the 90 minutes against Stoke and I really enjoyed it,” Williams said. “He [Jagielka] is similar to myself - he talks a lot, he organises. It’s nice to play with someone and they give you that information as well.

“We got a clean sheet in the first league game, so that was really pleasing.

“As a captain he has made me feel really welcome. Early on he told me how things were here.”


Williams and Jagielka were both back at work at Finch Farm on Thursday following their international involvements.

Jagielka, who was recalled to the England squad for Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of England, didn’t play against Slovakia, but Williams led Wales to a comfortable 4-0 home victory over Moldova.

The World Cup qualifier in Cardiff was already over as a contest when Williams earned his breather, leaving the action in an 82nd-minute substitution.

His attention is now back on club football and maintaining Everton’s unbeaten start to the campaign.

Indeed, a victory at Sunderland, coupled with results elsewhere over the weekend, could see the Toffees move to joint top of the table.

“We haven’t lost yet in the league and seven points from three games is pleasing,” Williams added. “We know there’s a long way to go though.

“Training is good, very intense [under Koeman]. He asks a lot of us and puts a demand on the sessions. I’m looking forward to working with him more.”


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