Phil Jagielka admits he feels part of Derby County "family" as he prepares for quick Sheffield United return

Phil Jagielka, the Sheffield United legend, is preparing for a quick return to Bramall Lane after leaving in the summer when his new club Derby County travel to South Yorkshire tomorrow evening.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 2:21 pm

The two Championship sides were paired together in the second round of the Carabao Cup, with Jagielka signing a deal at the Rams on the day he turned 39 years old.

With Derby’s squad notoriously stretched, Wayne Rooney will have to think carefully before making many changes for the second-round tie at Bramall Lane – meaning those United fans who attend may get the chance to see Jagielka in action again only months after his second stint as a Blade officially came to an end.

“Initially I really enjoyed myself here,” Jagielka, who joined Derby on trial in the summer, said. “I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what I wanted to do [with playing on] but I settled into the group and was made part of the family here, so it gave me the emphasis that I wanted to continue playing football.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I wanted to do something here and I felt I had something to offer. So did the management team, so did the club, but unfortunately it didn’t quite happen before the first game.

“With what happened last year, staying in the league and coming back as a Championship team, a lot of people left and we have a youthful team with six or seven lads being here a little while.

“But I think everyone is ready for the challenge. Everyone knows it will be tough and we’ve been given a lot of hurdles and hoops to jump through, but we all have to be thankful we are still a Championship team.

Phil Jagielka in action for Derby County (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

“We can play some decent football; we have some decent players and we have a good squad of players. We will go out week in, week out and give it our all.

“The Championship is a long season but we’ve had a decent enough start and there are plenty of games to play. We know we need to keep our foot down and keep picking up points.”