Jags Ready To Return And Lead By Example

Phil Jagielka says it is up to him and Everton’s other senior players to “lead through our performances” when the Blues return to Premier League action at Brighton next weekend.

A hamstring injury has forced captain Jagielka onto the sidelines since the Toffees' defeat at Manchester United on September 17.

He watched Everton seal their Carabao Cup progress with victory over Sunderland and draw their Europa League encounter with Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol.

In the Premier League matches that sandwiched the European tie, Everton beat Bournemouth 2-1 and went down to a 1-0 defeat by Burnley.

That loss to the Lancashire team left Ronald Koeman's men with a fortnight to lick their wounds before the trip to Brighton next Sunday.

Jagielka is optimistic of being fit to reclaim the armband from deputy Leighton Baines for the game against Chris Hughton’s newly-promoted team – if selected by boss Koeman.

Asked by evertonfc.com if it was important for the Toffees’ experienced campaigners to lead by example, Jagielka said: “That is always the case. Leighton has taken that onto the pitch in the past few games.

“He has been one of our best players and shown the way forward. That is all you can do. We all try to help motivate each other off the pitch but when the game starts it is all about doing the right things.

“It is a massive role for the captain, vice-captain and experienced players: to go out there and show that leadership through our performances.

“And, hopefully, once we get back from the international break we will put together a decent run and everyone will forget about the sticky start we have had.”

The 10-year anniversary of Jagielka and Baines signing for Everton was celebrated at a Goodison Park event last week.

Jagielka admitted the evening had provided a perfect opportunity to absorb everything that has happened in the past decade.

But he was also turning his thoughts towards being ready for what will be Everton’s first clash with Brighton since 1983.

“The injury is all good now,” said Jagielka. “The Burnley game came a day or two too early, but with the international break, hopefully training will go well and I will be pushing for selection.

“It has been great to reflect on the 10 years. Most of the time, Bainesy has been taking free-kicks and I have been in the wall to watch them go in – and a few crosses Bainesy has put in, I have managed to head in.

“We still want to continue doing what we are doing – but it is nice to take note and have a look back.”

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