Moyes lauds Lescott form
Everton manager David Moyes has hailed defender Joleon Lescott's return to top form.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 01/04/09 6:31pm
David Moyes has hailed Joleon Lescott's return to top form and hopes he gets another England cap to show for his efforts.
The Everton defender is expected to be warming the bench again on Wednesday, along with Toffees team-mates Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines, for England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley.
It represents a speedy turnaround in Lescott's international fortunes after boss Fabio Capello dropped him for the February friendly against Spain in Seville.
Lescott, however, has redoubled his efforts since suffering that disappointment and has caught the eye in Everton blue in recent months.
And should the former Wolves man maintain those standards, Moyes believes he will help the Toffees sprint, rather than stumble, to a place in next year's Europa League.
"Everyone knows that Joleon didn't start the season well and his form was not what he wanted it to be by any means," the Everton boss told the Liverpool Echo.
"He expected better of himself but all credit to him; I've seen his form improve dramatically over the last few months and he's become a really important player again.
"Up until we lost at Portsmouth, we'd been on a good run and Joleon, like Mikel Arteta, was a big part of making that happen.
"We want the good performances and form to continue."
With Capello expected to pair Rio Ferdinand and John Terry together in the centre of defence, as well as sticking with Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson on the flanks, the best Everton's Three Lions can hope for is a run-out from the bench.
However, even if Lescott, Jagielka and Baines do not end up getting any playing time, Moyes believes the trio will reap the benefits of training under Capello's gaze for the last eight days.
"I think it's great they are in the squad," said Moyes. "I know Jags and Joleon are really keen to be involved in the set-up and haven't been too disheartened about not playing yet.
"It's Bainesy's first call-up and there is no doubt that he will benefit from being around those good players every day."
Moyes also feels Everton can use that trio's ambitions of playing for England in next summer's World Cup finals to their advantage.
"If Bainesy continues to work hard, you never know - he may be the one who breaks through next year," he added. "The fact we have three in there shows these boys are doing well.
"First of all, you have to earn your right to be in the team here and they have all done that. Now we hope they can continue to push on."