Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Is he really that good?

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The person in question is Phil Jagielka. Pre-injury, I?d grown to like him as a player; he gave some top-notch performances after a nervy start, made the position his own, and did look like a future Everton captain.

On his return last season, he looked to be getting back to his best and I thought with a good pre-season under his belt we?d see him back to his best.

I read in the paper last week all the summer speculation unsettled him. I agree, it must be unsettling... but let's be honest ? nothing is plain sailing at the Old Lady.

But, for me, that?s just an excuse. This season, he has been nothing short of woeful. In the QPR game, he was at fault (correct me if I am wrong but I think it was him) and Osman who got done for Di Santo against Wigan last week. Although Drenthe gave the ball away in a horrible manner last week, he hesitated when quite clearly he could've got to the ball once it had broken loose.

Distin is by far the best centre half at the club: quick, strong, good on the ball and just oozes class. Heitinga ? well he was given a chance last year and didn?t exactly take it but, on current form, in Jagielka?s case, he now deserves another crack alongside Distin.

There was once incident on Saturday (at City) where he just wellied it as hard and as high as he could; with no one up-front, the ball just comes straight back... not exactly what you want when you're parking the bus at City ? a certain David Unsworth used to get slaughtered for it.

Anyway, David Moyes obviously sees him as our ?current? captain with Neville resigned to the bench in recent weeks... but, for me, he should be sat on the bench and, come January, if Arsenal still fancy him, would you really be arsed if he went?

Brian  Holmes, Ormskirk     Posted 26/09/2011 at 12:42:22

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James Marshall
1   Posted 26/09/2011 at 14:32:36

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Yeah, we might as well sell him - especially as we have such a huge squad that needs trimming. So much cover in every position, he might as well be sold then we can use....errrr.......the bloke who does the kit as centre half instead.

Great idea.
Danny Broderick
2   Posted 26/09/2011 at 15:11:43

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He's not in the England squad for nothing Brian. His form might be a bit up and down at the minute, but his reading of the game is excellent, and he's a good solid all-round defender.
I wouldn't blame him for Di Santo's goal, it was Osman who got turned for that one. And by the time Milner scored (88 minutes) against City, he must have been absolutely knackered. The ball just kept on coming back at us because we had nothing up front, and he also played 120 minutes the other night against West Brom.
Form is temporary, class is permanent. Jagielka is one of the best defenders in the Prem, and we'll certainly need him this season.
Andy Morden
3   Posted 26/09/2011 at 15:19:35

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50p forehead and a clubfoot = form this season. On his day a fantastic centre half. Personally, I don't think he has been the same since Lescott left.
Andy Morden
4   Posted 26/09/2011 at 15:21:09

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To clarify, I mean that cenre back pairings tend to be that - a partnership. We haven't had a solid partnership since Lesoctt and Jags were at the top of their game. Foe one reason or another no-one at the club has consistently formed as solid a partnership with Distin....
Martin Handley
5   Posted 26/09/2011 at 15:55:57

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Jags has struggled towards the end of games since coming back from injury; I'm not knocking the bloke, it's just how it looks to me. He always gives 100% but it was a carreer threatening injury so he may well not reach the heights he once did again.

Maybe giving Heittinga a run of games alongside Distin may well freshen things up at the back a bit. Also Duffy and Mustafi are close to a spot, according to Moyes.

Stephen Kenny
6   Posted 26/09/2011 at 16:07:28

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Doesn't neccesarily have to be sold, although I would have this summer.

What I would like to see is when a player goes off the boil, which only a fool would argue isn't the case here, that they are dropped for a player who's waiting in the wings. The competition would do us the world of good IMO.
David Thomas
7   Posted 26/09/2011 at 17:29:27

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Stephen,

The thing is though when Heitinga has come in has not particuarly excelled has he. I mean in the west brom game for every misplaced long ball Jags played Heitinga matched him soon after.
Stephen Kenny
8   Posted 26/09/2011 at 17:34:10

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David

True, but overall you know Johnny can pass well out of defence, my main reason for thinking Jag should be out the team at this point is because he's making basic defensive errors that have cost us.

Heitinga had proven to be a good CB in his first season with us
Kevin Tully
9   Posted 26/09/2011 at 17:44:57

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His hoofs are infuriating.
Simon Howett
10   Posted 26/09/2011 at 17:49:43

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You would think Moyes would have picked up that Jags can't pass a ball more than ten yards and worked something around the midfield dropping to pick the ball up and play from there. Also coupled with the fact that we don't have a fucking player upfield when he hoofs it anyway. It astounds me the tactics and brains behind what is going on. We were good on Saturday WITHOUT the ball but fucking useless with it, and I have never seen anyone score without the ball or win a game.
There is an apathy about Moyes and the players at the moment, I hope they can sort it out for the shite on Sat. Its gonna be a dull long season.
Denis Richardson
11   Posted 26/09/2011 at 17:48:06

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I was amazed we didnt sell him in the summer when suposedly offered 15m. Jags is a good defender but IMO is not worth 15m as his distribution is aweful, we should have bitten arsenals hand off.

JH's best position is CB and he had a spell before when he played well. One of the things that annoyes me about Moyes is that he rarely drops his favourites, even if they are playing shite (we may have a small squad but we can still rotate a little in certain positions - e.g.defence. Jags is not on form at the moment so he should give JH a go, if anything as a kick up the backside for Jags.

It may also mean we keep a little more possession as the ball wont come straight back after yet another hoof up the pitch.
Nick Entwistle
12   Posted 26/09/2011 at 18:54:53

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He's gone a bit Yobo, but his partnership with Lescott was outstanding. Greater than the sum of their parts etc.
I'd like to see JH given a go.
Joe McMahon
13   Posted 26/09/2011 at 19:47:25

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I agree with others, I would have like to have seen him gone for 12 million, then slot JH (the much better player) in his natural CB positions, and kept Yobo as cover. The Jaqs hoof is just too much after several years of doing it.

Danny Broderick "He's not in the England squad for nothing Brian", I think a certian Gary Cahill has overtaken him.
Steve Higham
14   Posted 26/09/2011 at 20:23:14

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Never been the same since his injury ? just like Arteta. Can read the game well but his distribution is woeful. Distin is by far the better player but never gets the plaudits. He knows he will never be dropped though ? one of Moyes's favourites.
Chris Butler
15   Posted 26/09/2011 at 20:29:33

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He reminds me of Yobo, Jags, a very good instinctive defender, but isn't very technical. He was run ragged at Blackburn. He can't do anything else except hoof it, opposition players have worked that out.

He should of been sold, we have Heitinga or Yobo to replace him. I don't think you can blame him for Saturday the first goal was Fellaini's fault for being lazy and the 2nd was Drenthe's fault.

Bob Skelton
16   Posted 26/09/2011 at 20:29:39

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Jags is top of the league for launching the ball aimlessly forward. Why someone from midfield doesn't come back and take the ball from him I have no idea. Obviously another Moyes tactic from his astute reservoir of ideas, which anyone who attends GP will see as unfathomable, but which the adoring Kenwright press will see as brilliant.

You have to blame Moyes : Jags has been doing it since he came here and obviously no one has tried to explain the error of his ways, maybe he's colour blind and doesn't realise we play in Blue. I always thought Yobo was a better footballer any way.
If we get £15M for him I'll believe Dick Turpin is related to Kenwright........
Al Reddish
17   Posted 26/09/2011 at 21:16:24

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How times change, I like Distin but a lot on here were calling him shit not that long ago and saying drop HIM for Heitinga...........oh well thats football
Ian Smitham
18   Posted 26/09/2011 at 21:22:05

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Some excellent objective posts on this subject. I wrote on here a few days ago that he has almost perfected the 60 yard crossfield pass to the guy in the third row of the stand ala Stubbs and JY.

On Saturday we saw a comical moment that saw the best and worst of the player in the dreadfull back header followed by the superb covering tackle.

If we still have JY, who I note many have also referred to as 50p head, and are paying him, I assume less than Jags, then if the club is in so much financial mire why did we not accept Arsenals bid if it was £15m in the summer??

I am sure that Mr Moyes has demonstrated an ability to find players from the lower leagues and am even more sure that a big rugged centre back.

£15m plus the Arteta money (and saved wages) would drive a big hole in the debts.
Dick Fearon
19   Posted 26/09/2011 at 21:40:35

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Jags and his hoof balls clearly demonstrates one of two things. Moyes demands it or is unable to do anything about it.
If it is the the first then Moyes should be ashamed of himself.
If it is the latter then Moyes should be ashamed of himself.
Colin Malone
20   Posted 26/09/2011 at 23:05:06

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Brian. You're having a laff. His passing needs to improve or just a simple ball needed, but as a defender, top notch, A1 at Lloyds, 5 stars, brilliant. Who's better?
Mark Jensen
21   Posted 27/09/2011 at 09:43:23

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I like Jags and believe he is a good defender but, as already stated on here, his form has dipped.

Typical Moyes trait is to let players play themselves back into form.
Unfortunately this has backfiered recently with Yakubu and Arteta. However, it did work with Distin last season when he had a dodgy spell.

I don't see the point of having a squad if you don't use it.
The manager is more than happy to rotate (rest) the younger players but not the senior players, even when a rest is crying out.

Jags would be best served with a couple of games on the bench and let Heitinga play. If Heitinga has a 'mare then put Jags back in. If Heitinga plays well then EFC benefits. I can only see this as a win-win.

At the moment Jags Yoboesque mistake-per-game is unsettling the back for and team as a whole.
Alasdair Mackay
22   Posted 27/09/2011 at 11:19:46

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The thing that sets Jags apart from the other defenders at the club is his ability to recover. All players will make mistakes, but Jags' reaction and mentality is first class.

Case in point against City at the weekend, when he sent a woeful header back towards Tim Howard, but was immediately aware of where he needed to be to shadow the ball away from danger.

Distin makes mistakes and recovers with his pace. Jags makes mistakes and recovers with his reading of the game. Heitinga is probably a better defender and certainly a better footballer than both of them, but when he makes mistakes he turns round and hacks the guy that's just done him. You can't have that at Centre Half in the Premiership - you'd concede too many penalties.

IMWT!
Andy Kay
23   Posted 27/09/2011 at 11:33:39

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I think one of Moyses problems with someone like Jags is he waits for it to come good rather than drop any of his favourites, Artetas form at the start of last season being a prime example. Jagielkas performances this season have not been good enough and a Kendall or a Royle would axe him for Heitinga and make him win his place back . Over the past couple of years players like Heitinga , Jags , Distin , Hibbert , Osman have all had great spells in the team along with absolute stinkers. Its part of a managers job to sort this out. If it means choosing 2 out 3 with our centre halves then Moyse needs to grow some balls and go on form. He needs to choose between Rodwell or Fellaini as defensive mid and make the other one fight for his place. Don't play Neville there just to keep his Captain in the team. Right back choose between Hibbo or Neville. Choose between Cahill and Osman for attacking Mid. Play two strikers!!! Christ , Kendall dropped Gray when Sharp and Heath were on fire ! Time to axe Jags and make want his shirt back.
Shaun Brennan
24   Posted 27/09/2011 at 12:52:44

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Jags is a great player when he hasn't got the ball.
Colin Malone
25   Posted 27/09/2011 at 12:59:20

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UNBELIEVABLE. He,s positional play is first class, the timing of he,s tackling is first class, when the going gets tough, Jag,s is there.
As i said, UNBELIEVABLE, slagging the lad off, he,s been in my top two M O M in all the games i,ve watched this season. Remember tv viewers, the camera only follows the ball.
Tom Bowers
26   Posted 27/09/2011 at 13:30:41

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Whilst not defending Jags and other defensive palyers and the mistakes they make it must be frustrating playing under Moyes with his dogmatic approach and team selection without much in the way of quality strikers with speed who can keep possession and relieve the pressure on the back four.
The midfielders we have do not possess much in the way of tackling skills either and that is why a lot of opposing teams are always having to much of the ball even at Goodison.
Yes I think on reflection we may be best to get some good money for Jags and go for a commanding centre back especially with Distin getting long in the tooth.
I particularly like Samba.
However what we have is what we have to live with at least until January.
Stephen Kenny
27   Posted 27/09/2011 at 17:38:29

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Colin,

I'm not a TV viewer and he's been crap all year.

If he's been in our top two MOTM's for this season then I think you better strat watching them on the telly mate.
Marcus Kendall
28   Posted 27/09/2011 at 17:50:09

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I think Samba is more than a little overrated, would prefer a ball playign centre half rather than Samba, Ideally someone like Simon Kjaer but thats probably unrealistic
Mick Davies
29   Posted 27/09/2011 at 18:21:44

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Hibbert? FFS won't some of you ever learn from experience, he is a disaster waitnig to get sent off, give away a pen. or a free kick right on the edge of the area, or throw himself on the deck as a player flies past him. Should never have played again for EFC after the Cup Final
Danny Broderick
30   Posted 27/09/2011 at 20:04:35

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I'm sorry,but some of you need a reality check.

Johnny Heitinga is better than Jags now is he? Well I remember a certain Mr Heitinga jumping out of 50/50s, not a great trait for a centre half, particularly in the Premier League.

Hibbert should never have played for the club again after the 2009 FA Cup Final? Ok, he had a stinker, but he's a good squad man. He's also playing well at the moment, and it's good to have a few home grown lads in the squad.

We wouldn't have any players left if we bombed them out after every bad spell. The fact of the matter is he is in the top 4 or 5 English centre backs (yes that's right Joe @13, that's why he's in the England squad). We have many problems at Everton, but replacing Jags comes a long way down the list.

Gary Mortimer
31   Posted 28/09/2011 at 08:11:51

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I agree that Jags gives it the welly too often, but a lot of that is down to the lack of options. How many times do our midfielders go short to receive it,only to simply return it straight back to the centre halves, so that Jags and Buzz now have a striker closing them down as well. It appears Jack and Felli have been told to NEVER pass it forward when there's a nice safe backwards pass available.
Noel Lynam
32   Posted 28/09/2011 at 12:57:23

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Danny @ 30,

Watch the build up to Man City's second goal from last weekend when Drenthe gives the ball away. Silva (I think) has a 50-50 with Jagielka, who moves towards the ball, hesitates, stands still and then backs off. If that is not "pulling out" I don't know what is.
Danny Broderick
33   Posted 28/09/2011 at 17:47:07

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Gary,
Nail on the head. If we had some players playing a bit higher up the pitch,i.e. Strikers(!),there might be someone on the end of Jags long punts out of defence.
And Noel,there's no way Jags pulled out of a 50/50 for City's 2nd goal. He didn't commit to the tackle cos he wasn't sure he would get there before Silva. Contrast that with Heitinga (once against Wolves and I forget who the other one was,maybe West Brom?),who was favourite in both challenges except that the other players wanted it more than him and he ended up on his arse both times.
Jason Lam
34   Posted 30/09/2011 at 07:47:10

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Jags is a great defender like Hibbert. I think we are beginning to miss Arteta as someone that can collect the ball and sort out the midfield in front of the back four. Even playing that role as far back, Arteta could clean up and keep the opposite on the back foot with intelligent distribution. We were missing that at citeh and constantly pinned back. But Arteta is only as good as his blue shirt. Fellaini needs to step and sort out the shit.

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