Jags pledges England loyalty
Phil Jagielka says he is proud to play for England and would never snub a chance to run out for his country.
Last Updated: 15/08/10 4:15pm
Everton defender Phil Jagielka insists he is proud to play for England and would never pass up the chance to run out for his country.
Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson and Manchester United defender Wes Brown caused controversy last week when they announced their international retirements after manager Fabio Capello had already included them in his squad for the friendly against Hungary.
But former Sheffield United man Jagielka is adamant stepping down from the international stage to prolong his club career has never crossed his mind, and admits he would feel the wrath of his parents if he did.
"No, I've never been tempted - my mum and dad would have beaten me up if I had," Jagielka told the Sunday People.
"I'm not going to criticise anyone for pulling out of the squad. You don't know what they've been through, what their circumstances are, they could have family reasons.
"If that's what they need to do to prolong their career or keep it moving in the right direction, that's up to them.
"I am proud as punch to be English and as long as I keep getting called up and I am fit and healthy, I will keep turning up and asking for a game.
"I've never given away any of my England shirts either, my parents like to collect them. That's just the way we are."
Jagielka, who won his first cap against Trinidad & Tobago in 2008 and his second against Spain last year, has endured an international career hampered by injury.
The 27-year-old was devastated to miss out on Capello's squad for South Africa after a knee problem kept him out for over half of last season.
But the stopper's 90 minute run-out at Wembley on Wednesday night has left him hungry for more.
"It took me so long to get fit last season with the prize at the end of it and I was gutted when I didn't make the World Cup squad," he added.
"But now the gaffer has changed things round and I was delighted to be called up."
Jagielka's notable form for the Toffees at the end of last term has reportedly attracted the attention of Premier League rivals Arsenal, but the defender insists he is solely focused on impressing at Goodison Park this season.
"I don't take any notice of speculation. I have other things to concentrate on, like getting myself back to being as fit and sharp as I possibly can be," he said.
"If anything happens, it happens, but I am an Everton player and I am proud to play for them."