Jags On Hitting Top Form

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Phil Jagielka has spoken of his satisfaction at showing he is “still capable of playing” at the highest level – even if he has a critic closer to home!

The Blues skipper has been in outstanding form since being recalled into the side for the 3-0 victory over West Brom on 11 March.

While impressing in defence, the centre-back is on a hot streak in front of goal, too, netting in Everton’s past three matches.

That included last weekend’s 3-1 success against Burnley at Goodison, which saw Jagielka open the scoring before producing a cartwheel celebration in front of the Gwladys Street End.

The 34-year-old admits he is pleased with his recent performances – but has been told by his daughter work still needs to be done on his gymnastics skills.

“I got told off,” said the defender on his cartwheel. “My little girl told me my toes weren’t pointy enough and my legs were a bit bent so I’ve got a bit of work to do in the garden to perfect the cartwheel but it was nice that we eventually won the game because it would have been a little bit embarrassing if we hadn’t.”

On his successful return to the starting line-up, Jagielka added: “When the team is doing well and you’re on the sidelines and don’t get to play too many minutes it is frustrating but I got another chance and it’s given me an opportunity to show I’m still capable of playing at this level, and to get a few goals is the icing on the cake.”

The Blues head to West Ham on Saturday still aiming for a top-five finish in the Premier League.

Boss Ronald Koeman has called on his team to transfer their superb form at Goodison – where Everton have won eight games on the bounce – to the road, starting with this weekend’s first-ever trip to the London Stadium.

“We’ve not always had the luck away from home this season,” said Jagielka. “It was tough at Old Trafford not to get a win there but (our away form) is something we need to address and it’s something we can build on.

“The manager wants us to improve. We have three away games left so it’s something we can go out and look at.

“West Ham had a fantastic season last year but with transfers, moving to a new stadium, probably a slightly different atmosphere at home, they’ve been in a bit of transition so it’s been quite difficult to put a steady run of results together. But they’ll want to finish strongly and look forward to the start of next season.”

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