Departing Phil Jagielka hailed as Sheffield United's most important Premier League signing by former teammate
Simon Moore paid a heartfelt tribute to former England international Phil Jagielka after it was confirmed that the pair would both leave Sheffield United when their contracts officially expire this summer.
Both players have played bit-part roles in recent years and will look for new clubs ahead of the new season as the Blades prepare to start a new era under Slavisa Jokanović.
Moore won two promotions in his five years at United, providing cover and competition to the likes of Dean Henderson and Aaron Ramsdale, while Jagielka retuned to Bramall Lane after they sealed their place in the Premier League. Over two spells with the club, he made 309 appearances.
“Jags, in my opinion, was the most important signing we made when we came up,” Moore told The Star.
“He is a great, great man and I have so much respect for him. Considering what he had achieved in the game, he came in and bought into the culture and his experience, of playing for England and captaining Everton, was vital.
“He was just a nice man, and massive in that season when we finished ninth in the Premier League although he didn’t play much of a part. He had a massive influence in the changing room and in meetings, always there to help.
“He was selfless really and I don’t think that should go unnoticed. I still think he has a year or two left in him at least, because he was one of the best players in training. Without a doubt.”
At 31 years old, Moore admits he has to go and play games – although he will never forget the memories and “friends for life” he made at Bramall Lane.
“A lot of the lads were at similar stages of our lives, and we just connected together really.
“We shared a lot of the same interests, playing golf or going to gigs, and the atmosphere and team spirit was unbelievable.
“I stay in touch with a lot of the lads. I had dinner with Couttsy [Paul Coutts], Billy Sharp has become one of my best mates and I still speak to Longy [George Long], too.
“I came in at United and took his place, but there was no animosity at all. He was unreal in training. I used to watch him and think: “How isn’t he in the team?”
“For someone to have played as many games as he has, at his age, is credit to the hard work he puts in. He’s one of the hardest working professionals I have ever seen, without a doubt.
“I spent hours and hours around at Sharpy’s, him telling me where to go in Sheffield and what to do, and I loved the city. The best place I’ve lived, without a doubt. I lived in Broomhill and loved it – going to gigs at the Leadmill and the O2 Academy and the Arena.
“I’ll always have fond memories of Sheffield and it’s a place I’ll always look back at with a lot of fondness. I’ve made friends for life.”