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Jagielka ready for supporting role
Published : 06 May 2010 09:32:00
Everton defender Phil Jagielka is looking forward to a "fantastic" World Cup - whether he makes Fabio Capello's England squad or not. Jagielka is back in contention for a place in the party to travel to South Africa after overcoming a 10-month lay-off to play a part in Everton's strong finish to the season. The 27-year-old had just forced his way into the England side when he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in a club game against Manchester City last April. He did not return to first-team action until February but has started all of Everton's last 10 games and impressed enough to suggest a trip to South Africa is not out of the question. Jagielka said: "You dream about playing for your country in the World Cup and if I get the opportunity to travel with the squad, especially after the previous 10 months, it would be amazing. "If I am lucky enough to go I'll be buzzing - but, if not, I'll still be smiling, I'll still be putting my shirt on supporting the boys. "There will be plenty of boys to support anyway, as far as club lads go. "I won't support them all for too long, but I will at least at the group stages. It will be fantastic." Jagielka underwent surgery in the days immediately following his injury and could only watch as Everton took on Chelsea in the FA Cup final last May. His presence was then sorely missed as the Toffees made a poor start to the current campaign, collecting just 15 points from their opening 14 Barclays Premier League games. Their form since has been outstanding with just two defeats in 23 games but their late charge for a European place has fallen just short. Jagielka admits his rehabilitation was a frustrating period but he does not want to wonder now about what might have been had he not got injured. "It's football and I can't complain," said the former Sheffield United player. "I'd had eight or nine fantastic seasons and then the first major injury I had last year ruled me out for some time. "If I can keep myself fit now for the remainder of my career I will look back feeling I was one of the lucky ones having not spent that much time on the sidelines. "It's not been the best year but all I can do is smile. I have had enough of being sulky and moody. "I've not played a lot of football but the last couple of months have flown by." Jagielka admits he still feels some discomfort in the knee but is confident of making a full recovery. "It is okay, not amazing," he said. "I've been told it will still take a little while for it to feel as good as it should do but that is more than good enough. "I'll keep working on it and working on it and hopefully it will get back to the strength it was."