Former Blade Phil Jagielka hoping to reclaim England place for Euro 2016

Phil Jagielka
Phil Jagielka
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Everton captain Phil Jagielka hopes to force his way back into England reckoning despite believing coach Roy Hodgson has already settled on three of his back four.

The 33-year-old former Sheffield United centre-back’s last international appearance was in the Euro 2016 qualifying victory over Lithuania in October. Shortly afterwards injury sidelined him for more than two months, meaning he missed England’s two friendlies against France and Spain.

He has been recalled for the forthcoming games against Germany and Holland but accepts he has a fight on his hands to win back a starting place before this summer’s tournament.

“We will find out more in these two games, if not the three before the finals,” said Jagielka.

“You would have to ask Roy but it looks like you have probably got Nathaniel Clyne, Gaz (Gary Cahill), Chris (Smalling) and a left-back.

“That is probably the starting back four with Joe (Hart) in goal.

“Obviously John Stones is looking to get back in there as well but I’ve got to think I have a chance.

“I am not going there to wash people’s boots and clean the kit. I am going there to try to get a game.

“I am not sure where I stand exactly. Obviously I missed the last trip. I will go there, keep my head down and see where it takes me.

“It is a case of waiting to see what happens between now and the end of the season. There is some good competition for places.

“A lot can happen between now and the tournament. It is important we put pressure on the people playing.”

Meanwhile, Germany head coach Joachim Low believes England are serious contenders for the Euro 2016 crown.

Roy Hodgson’s men travel to Berlin this week as they step-up their preparations for France with a mouth-watering friendly against the world champions.

And Low, speaking ahead of the friendlies against England and Italy, said: “This will be a taste of what we can expect at the Euros.

“The opponents are both interesting and are two of the favourites to win the European Championship. It will be a good test.”

“The battle for places in the squad is seriously beginning now - there are still eight weeks until the end of the season,” Low added.

“We have selected a large squad in order to speak with the players about what we expect. We are looking at their form and fitness as a whole.”

Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck and Ryan Bertrand were absent from England’s first training session ahead of the friendlies with Germany and Holland. Roy Hodgson’s men met up at St George’s Park yesterday ahead of Saturday’s clash with the world champions in Berlin.

Having seen Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart pull out of the squad after sustaining muscle injuries over the weekend, Welbeck and Bertrand now appear doubts for the upcoming friendlies.

Southampton left-back Bertrand is having an unspecified injury assessed and missed Tuesday’s session, which Arsenal forward Welbeck, fresh from netting in Saturday’s win at Everton, worked in the gym as agreed with his club.

Jack Butland received the England Under-21s Player of the Year award for 2015 during a goalkeeping session that involved Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton, who was called up following Hart’s injury.