Jagielka to captain perfect England against Lithuania

October 12, 2015 10:57 am

LONDON (Reuters) – England defender Phil Jagielka will lead out an “interesting” team in Lithuania on Monday when they try to finish their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a perfect record.

Jagielka is captain for the first time with Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill missing and is set to have goalkeeper Jack Butland, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and striker Jamie Vardy in the lineup.

Victory for England will see them finish qualifying with an unprecedented perfect record of 10 wins and manager Roy Hodgson believes his team have a great chance to achieve that feat.

Football – England Training – LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania – 11/10/15
England’s Harry Kane, Phil Jones and Ryan Bertrand during training
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

“Phil (Jagielka) will captain the team and take the place of Gary Cahill,” he told the FA website (www.thefa.com).

“We’ve let James Milner go and we’re already without Michael Carrick, who had to leave us through injury and Jack Wilshere is injured, so I mentioned Jonjo Shelvey.

“Jamie Vardy came on the other night and we are probably looking to see him, if not from the start at some stage during the game.

“We’ve been fortunate in the sense that we have come through the match on Friday evening unscathed in terms of injuries,” he added referring to the 2-0 win over Estonia at Wembley.

Football – England Training – LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania – 11/10/15
England’s Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones during training
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

“We’ve a very interesting team for Phil to lead out tomorrow, a young team, but players we believe in and we’re very conscious of the fact we could have a perfect record if we win the game, but we also know that it’s not a given we will win…

Everton centre back Jagielka, 33, will captain England on his 38th appearance and hopes to mark the occasion with a win.

“It’s a great honour for me personally, but we’ve got a big task ahead of us tomorrow,” he said. “We started this campaign a while ago and the job was to try and win every single game.

Football – England Press Conference – Novotel Hotel, Vilnius, Lithuania – 11/10/15
England manager Roy Hodgson and Phil Jagielka during the press conference
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

“Normally you say that and not a lot of people expect you to do so, but we’ve put in some great performances along the way and it’s nice that we will have the opportunity to do so.

“We know it is going to be a difficult game with a few of the boys going (home) and a few of us getting a bit of an opportunity, whether you’ve got caps or you’ve not got too many caps under your belt, this is the opportunity you want.

“The squad is strong and it’s up to us who gets the chance tomorrow to go and prove it and put a good performance on.”

(By Ken Ferris, Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Dhruv George

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino. He has been an ardent follower of motorsports sport since 2001, holding Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren in high regard.

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