Martin Smith Column: On the face of it Phil Jagielka's move to Sheffield United is perfect - but he'll need all his experience to help Blades in the Premier League

On the face of it, it’s perfect – Phil Jagielka back in a Blades shirt for a one or two-season swansong at the club of his heart.

Sunday, 7th July 2019, 11:23 pm
Updated Monday, 8th July 2019, 1:20 pm
New signing Phil Jagielka is pictured at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United need Premier League know-how and 36-year old Jags has tons of that.

But football, as we all know, can be a cruel game.

Sentiment and goodwill count for nothing when the whistle goes and some of the best strikers in the world will be plotting how to make mugs of United’s defence.

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Jagielka will need all his guts, intelligence and organisational ability to help make sure they don’t.

Sheffield wishes him well.


Great news that Handsworth FC are to return to Sheffield from their five-year exile in Worksop.

Great tradition though the Nottinghamshire club has - it claims to be the fourth oldest independent association football club in the world behind Sheffield FC, Hallam FC and Notts County - Handsworth belongs in Sheffield.

It’s new £700,000 all-weather synthetic pitch at Oliver’s Mount puts it back at the heart of where it should be.

The days of big and often ramshackle non-league grounds standing empty most of the week are gone.

Other grounds at this level have been given a huge lease of life and activity after 3-G playing surfaces were installed and played on seven days a week by kids and community to no ill effect.

That kind of access has to be good for everyone.

Welcome home Handsworth.


Congratulations to World Champions USA after their World Cup success, undoubtedly worthy winners.

That tea-sipping gesture of Alex Morgan’s after her semi-final goal against England was quite subtle, as wind-ups go.

Far more subtle than Fox Sports crowing tweet claiming that the USA team is better and: ‘always has been and always will’ be.

Always is a long time, especially in sport.

The way English women’s football is making strides at professional, international and grass roots levels - 11 million watched England’s semi-final on TV in the UK - that ‘always’ jibe may come back to haunt the puffed-up social media bods at Fox.

When the day dawns that we beat the USA - and it will - that tea-sipping gesture right back at them should do just fine.

Great response from Yorkshire Tea who tweeted: ‘Dear USWNT, sorry you had to drink pretend tea. If you’d run out of the proper stuff you only had to ask! PS No hard feelings - good luck on Sunday.’