Jag: Rooney will get slaughtered
Phil Jagielka has warned Wayne Rooney to expect plenty of verbal stick when he returns to action on Merseyside this weekend. Jagielka has nothing but praise for the way Rooney put off-field allegations behind him to help England triumph 3-1 over Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Basle on Tuesday night. The Manchester United striker scored his first international goal for 12 months and again looked at home in a slightly deeper role after his fine display against Bulgaria on Friday. But Everton defender Jagielka will have a different outlook when he confronts the 24-year-old at Goodison Park, and admits the pair are "not exactly best of friends". Jagielka said: "It should be amusing. On Merseyside Wayne always gets a little bit of stick and I'll be giving him a little bit as well if he plays on Saturday. "I've spoken to him about it. All the boys in the England squad know who is playing who. "It is always interesting playing against people you've just been away with in the week. "No doubt I'll give him a bit of banter if he plays. "There is a good chance he will get slaughtered. He normally gets quite a bit of stick anyway. I can't see that changing come Saturday." Rooney's next three games are against Everton, Rangers and Liverpool, a trio of clubs who are unlikely to have a sympathetic response to the recent headlines he has had to confront. Jagielka admitted: "I am sure Wayne can deal with it. He is a tough lad and he will let his football do the talking. "I will enjoy the battle against him. I like playing against good players and Wayne is definitely a good player. "It is always a tough battle and I've always got to keep concentrated when I play against him." Jagielka was reluctant to comment on how Rooney has reacted while on England duty to personal allegations against him, although he admired the way he was able to concentrate on his football and help put England in charge of their qualifying group. Jagielka said: "It's not really for me to comment on what Wayne has been like this week. "I'm not exactly best of friends with Wayne so I've not been hanging around with him that much. "He seems his normal self but I haven't got an in-depth sort of view of how he has been feeling. "It was always going to be hard night for Wayne but he did what he is put in the team for. "He created some good chances as well as scoring when he was the right man at the right time." Jagielka was reunited at the heart of the defence with former Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott and took satisfaction from both his and the team's performance He said: "We've not played together for a while but I enjoyed playing alongside him. "I felt really comfortable and hopefully he felt the same way. "We would have liked to keep a clean sheet but when a guy steps up and hits the ball like he did for their goal, there is not much you can do about it." Jagielka also felt the condition of the rainswept pitch also suited England. He said: "I think the conditions, as much as it was wet, quite helped. "We trained here on Monday night and the pitch was quite sticky so I think of the two, we would have preferred the way it was tonight. "We played some good football and created some good chances. "People say this was the most difficult fixture in the group but all the away games are tough."
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