Jags - Spain horror helped me
Phil Jagielka admits his nightmare England debut against Spain has been crucial to his development.
Last Updated: 07/10/10 11:15am
Phil Jagielka feels his nightmare England debut against Spain has been crucial to his development as an international player.
The Everton centre-back made his first Three Lions start in February last year when Rio Ferdinand pulled out of the line-up for the friendly in Spain.
Jagielka impressed for the opening 35 minutes but ultimately lost the ball to Xabi Alonso to pave the way for David Villa's opener and did not last beyond half-time in the 2-0 defeat.
However the 28-year-old, who hopes to feature in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, feels that experience gave him his first taste of the pressures of international football.
"That turned me from a boy to a man in a way. It was a strange game, really," Jagielka told The Sun.
"If you look back at the 45 minutes, five were bad and 40 were really good.
"I was happy with my performance but the main talking point was obviously my bad decision with the pass and then not getting back to tackle.
"Unfortunately, that's international football - if you make a mistake it's blown up and I didn't feel good after the game.
"But I would agree that it helped me to deal with the expectation of playing for your country and it took me on to the next level."
Former Sheffield United favourite Jagielka missed the World Cup after being sidelined for the majority of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Reflecting on England's disappointing campaign in South Africa, the stopper admits his omission from the squad may have been a blessing in disguise.
"I may never get to go to a World Cup and I was gutted not to go to South Africa even though, realistically, I didn't expect it," he said.
"Not many of the team came back from South Africa with better reputations than they went with.
"Maybe the likes of me, Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson don't have the horror of coming back as under-achievers and having that hanging over us.
"We had a bit of a fresh start after - the next squad was a young one and didn't have any of that baggage from the World Cup.
"In hindsight, it was probably good to have that rest.
"Looking back it was the right decision for me not to go but if I'd had the chance I would've loved it."
With Ferdinand and John Terry also named in the squad for Tuesday's Wembley clash, Jagielka accepts he could end up watching the action from the bench.
He added: "I understand that with Rio and JT's previous England careers and experience that I may have to bide my time and watch from the subs' bench.
"But if it comes to Tuesday and I'm not playing, I will be supporting the boys as much as anyone else."