Sheffield United: Phil Jagielka is back at Bramall Lane
Phil Jagielka has completed an emotional return to Sheffield United, exactly 12 years to the day since leaving the club to join Everton.
The centre-half becomes Chris Wilder's second signing of this summer's transfer window, following Luke Freeman's arrival from Queens Park Rangers earlier this week.
Jagielka, now aged 36, made nearly 300 appearances for United after progressing through their youth system before moving to Goodison Park when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2007.
"I don't have to sign players for the fans to pat us on the back, we're signing Phil because he is a really good footballer and a great character to have around in our first season back in the Premier League,” Wilder said.
"He's got an obvious history with the club which is fantastic but meeting up with him and seeing his desire makes me delighted to see Jags back at home.”
Jagielka, who amassed 322 top-flight starts during his time on Merseyside, will travel with United for warm-weather training in Portugal later today and, like Freeman, is expected to feature during next week's friendly against Real Betis at the Algarve Stadium.
After leaving Everton at the end of last season, Jagielka, capped 40 times by England, attracted interest from Scottish giants Celtic. Despite training with Burnley since being released by Marco Silva, Sean Dyche has a number of centre-halves at his disposal.
However, sources close to Jagielka last night admitted that, once United expressed an interest, his heart was set on rejoining the team where he started his career.
“I've been back once or twice before but it's nice to put the red and white shirt on again,” Jagielka admitted. “I've kept my eye on The Blades ever since.
“It's even more special being back in the Premier League and hopefully we can have a fantastic season.”
"He's had a fantastic career, he was deserving of his move when we dropped out of the top-flight last time and he went to a fantastic club and played all those games in the Premier League and captained England,” Wilder added.
"To have Phil in and around our changing room in one of the most important seasons in our recent history is going to be invaluable.
"He's come to play, he knows he's got to earn his place, but I'm buzzing having spent time with him and seen the desire he's got to succeed at the back end of his career."