Warnock backs his ex-Blades skipper Jagielka to get back to his best

Phil Jagielka and Neil Warnock in their Sheffield United days
Phil Jagielka and Neil Warnock in their Sheffield United days

Neil Warnock has backed Phil Jagielka to answer his critics in the only way he knows how - with full-blooded performances for both club and country.

The 32-year-old defender played in the opening two games of England’s ill-fated World Cup campaign alongside Chelsea’s Gary Cahill but has since lost his place to Phil Jones.

Jagielka has also come under fire for some below-par displays at the heart of Everton’s defence as Roberto Martinez’s side have shipped 10 goals in the early weeks of the Barclays Premier League season.

But Warnock, who takes his Crystal Palace team to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, has backed the man he brought into professional football at Sheffield United 14 years ago to show he can still cut it in the Barclays Premier League.

“I think he’s just got to be proud of what he’s achieved really,” Warnock said of his former Blades skipper.

“I had him as a lad and they were telling me he was a right-back or a central midfield player and together we found a position for him. To see him playing at the World Cup was a fantastic achievement for him and he’s a smashing lad with a lovely family.

“The answer to the critics is what he did in the Europa League against Wolfsburg. I thought he was superb and that’s the way to answer people, by turning out and playing.

“I’m sure the Everton fans might be even happier if he doesn’t get picked for England because he does a wonderful job for Everton and has done for many years. I remember talking to David (Moyes) and Arsene Wenger and said, ‘If we (Sheffield United) do get relegated then he’s the one you want to sign’.

“He’s just a level-headed lad. He’ll not even bother about any criticism or anything, he just turns up for training each day.

“Managers have first names on the team sheet every week and he’s one of those and Roberto is lucky to have him. He’s a fabulous player and he’d get in every team in the Premier League, I think.”