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Jags issues Everton warning

Squad cannot afford to coast towards the end of the season says skipper

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Everton captain Phil Jagielka has warned his teammates that many of them are playing for their futures and they cannot afford to relax between now and the end of the season.

After three successive league wins a traumatic season is set to come to a rather tame end with the club now safely in mid-table and unlikely to become entangled in matters at either end of the Premier League.

But after a campaign that has seen the team perform well below expectations there is an appetite for rebuilding among the supporters who feel a number of the current squad should be moved on in the summer.

That means the final few matches of the season represent what could be a final chance to impress the manager before an expected summer of change.

Jagielka appears all too aware of that, as well as the need to reward the fans for their support throughout a tortuous few months by ending the campaign on a high.

The 32-year-old said

"If anyone thinks they are guaranteed to start at the beginning of next season and be guaranteed a place, then they would be daft to do so.

"No-one has performed to a level that has been exceptional that makes them a guaranteed starter.

"So if you are going to get game time between now and the end of the season then, in my eyes, you are better off trying your best and showing the manager that you are worthy and should be part of his plans for next season."

"Aaron Lennon is on loan and is trying to impress and there’s a couple of lads who have not played a lot, Arouna (Kone) has come in, Ossie (Leon Osman) has not played a tremendous amount and Stevie P (Steven Pienaar) is back, so we have lads who have a lot to play for.

"But the ones who you would say haven’t got a lot to play for are the sort of characters that won’t lower their standards.

"All of us are desperate to finish as high up as we can so I wouldn’t say there is nothing to play for and if there are any players thinking like that then they will get found out and won’t get to play in the team anymore."