The Blues had to come from behind after conceding a second-minute goal at Loftus Road, and their task became even harder when Steven Pienaar was sent off for a second bookable offence with half an hour to go. Pienaar’s controversial dismissal by referee John Moss means the South African – who appeared to barely make contact with Jose Bosingwa – will miss next Sunday’s Merseyside derby, but USA goalkeeper Howard insisted the point in West London will not leave Everton too down-beat ahead of the clash with Liverpool – particularly with Jagielka in such defiant form. He said: “Jags was immense. He’s grown and grown and looks like he’ll cement himself in the England team playing like that.
“He’s been doing that for us for years. He’s a player who does his own job and at the risk of making a mistake he’ll try and cover for everyone else on the field too. He’s a leader, he’s solid, and he was an animal against QPR.
“It was a classic centre half performance – he was everywhere. It was just one of those nights you knew he wasn’t going to get beaten. He’s been a rock for us for a long time and we need him to have the momentum going into the derby.”