Jagielka hails Cahill partnership

Phil Jagielka thinks his defensive partnership with Gary Cahill for England is blossoming.

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 17:47 Post Comment

Phil Jagielka: In action for England

Phil Jagielka: In action for England

Phil Jagielka thinks his partnership with Gary Cahill for England is blossoming.

England laboured to a 0-0 draw in Kiev last night to move one point clear at the top of Group H with two matches left.

While England were fairly underwhelming on the attack, the same could not be said at the other end of the pitch as Cahill and Jagielka put in lion-hearted performances amid the hostile atmosphere of the Olympic Stadium.

Manager Roy Hodgson struggled to settle on a regular centre-back partnership following the retirement of John Terry last September, but after fielding Cahill and Jagielka there for the last five matches, it is clear that the England boss sees the duo as his first-choice combination.

Cahill's ability was called in to question last month when his slow movement was exposed by Scotland's Kenny Miller, but he and Jagielka have gone some way to silencing their critics after keeping two clean sheets in five days.

"The partnership is getting better, definitely," the Everton captain said.

"To play two games together in quick succession makes life easier.

"It's been quite a few times that Gaz and I have played together so hopefully if we can stay fit and in-form, we can keep on putting that England jersey on and be as good together as possible."

Former England striker Gary Lineker hit out at England's passing display during the match and labelled the overall performance as "awful".

But with England now one point clear at the top of Group H, Jagielka has no complaints about the display.

"We would have loved to have got three points but our destiny is in our hands now," he said.

"We knew it would be tough. Ukraine have fantastic support and they are on a fantastic run of form at the moment but we could have nicked all three points.

"When the group came out we knew it was going to be a really tough group and it has proven that way.

"Hopefully now we can get the job finally done."

Despite Jagielka's optimism, the fact remains that England's only victories in qualifying have come against Moldova and San Marino.

But on paper England should have enough to overcome Montenegro and Poland in four weeks' time.

Jagielka insists England will not start thinking about Brazil until the job is done.

"Nothing was taken for granted before the Ukraine and Moldova games and I don't think it will be any different for the last two games," the 31-year-old said.

"If we can put on a couple of good performances and get a couple of victories, then we can look forward to a long summer."


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