Everton are in the midst of a poor streak of form, mustering one win in their last eight Premier League games. A big part of their woes have come from defensive instability, that has seen them losing their mantle as one of the stingiest defences in Europe.
Club captain Phil Jagielka has had a role to play there, looking very shaky in recent times. He has conceded three penalties and has been culpable for a few more goals in recent weeks and questions are being asked about his status in the starting eleven.
Manager Ronald Koeman hasn’t gone easy on the England international either -
“He is experienced enough to deal with critics. But he needs to know that, he’s a national team player and he needs to improve and be an important player with Ashley as the two centre-backs.
“We have competition so he needs to give his standard, his level of performance like everybody in the team. Of course he was involved in three penalties, two against Manchester City and then one last weekend.
“I give him the support I give everybody. I think players need confidence.”
It has not been an easy couple of months for Jags, with the defender coming under criticism for having been part of the Three Lions group that went out drinking and captain Wayne Rooney coming under fire.
Koeman refused to confirm if Jagielka would retain his place in the side for this weekend at Southampton. Ramiro Funes Mori replaced the 34-year-old for the game against West Ham United, which coincidentally was the only win Everton managed in the last couple of months.