Jags among familiar faces as he answers England call

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FORMER Shefffield United star Phil Jagielka has told of his delight at being called into Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2012.

The Everton defender played in last Saturday’s 1-0 friendly win in Norway but was only on stand-by for this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine until Gareth Barry pulled out because of an injury suffered in the Oslo game.

“I was obviously a little bit frustrated and disappointed not to be in the original 23 but the manager was very honest with me,” said Jagielka.

“He said: ‘Would you come and join up and be on stand-by and play a part in the Norway game and if anything does happen you’ll be the going to the Euros?’.

“As it is, I got to play 90 minutes for my country, which was fantastic, and a few days later I managed to make the 23.”

Despite being a defender, Jagielka was chosen ahead of standby midfielder Jordan Henderson to replace the stricken Barry.

Jagielka said: “I wasn’t trying to think too far ahead; obviously with Gaz going out, it was always going to be a lottery of which person the manager chose.

“But if you look and saw two for every position, we were one defender light and there was an extra midfielder in there anyway, so, thankfully for me, I got the nod.”

The 29-year-old on Saturday rekindled his centre-half partnership with Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott, whom he played alongside at Everton for two years.

“Jole and I have known each other for about 10 years, going back to youth level with England,” he said.

“We’re a similar age, we played a lot together at Everton. He got himself a fantastic move to Man City and has won a Premier League medal.

“His career’s gone on to fantastic things and I think I’ve done okay for myself. It’s always nice to have a familiar face next to you.”