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Everton FC: Phil Jagielka dreams of a European return with the Blues
Published : 07 Dec 2012 07:00:00
Everton defender Phil Jagielka didn’t get a wink of sleep, but he was not too bothered.
As thousands of Evertonians descended on the south German city of Nuremberg in November 2007, their enthusiasm made it difficult for the players to get some rest.
But it mattered little as Everton won at the easy Credit Frankenstadion that night thanks to late goals from Mikel Arteta and Victor Anichebe to make it back-to-back wins in the Uefa Cup group stages.
And though Jagielka was only used as a last minute replacement,, the whistle stop tour of Nuremberg still left an impression on the defender.
Everton have been without European football since 2010 but their encouraging start to the Premier League season has allowed hope of a return to the continent to grow.
Jagielka says qualifying for the Champions League remains the ultimate aim but knows securing a place in the Europa League will be celebrated. Europe’s premier club competition has gross commercial income estimated at 1.09bn Euros, with the Europa League said to generate less than 20% of that figure, despite having 24 more clubs involved.
Jagielka understands that every club would love to tap into the riches of the Champions League but says there is real value in playing in the Europa League, as the fans in Germany that night proved.