David Moyes is fast becoming a master craftsman, taking rough lower division diamonds and coaxing sparkling performances out of them. First there was Tim Cahill, who we bought from Millwall and nearly went to Crystal Palace, but has since been widely accepted as one of the best goalscoring midfielders in the Premier League. Next there was Joleon Lescott, nabbed from Wolves and coming with glowing recommendations, it was the worry over his knees that presumably scared off the top teams, but yet again Moyes was proven right. And now we have Phil Jagielka, a man who had Premier League experience, but with the sinking ship that was Sheffield Utd – when he initially signed for Everton for £4.5million there were some doubters, and after a shaky start the doubts grew – but Jagielka has now settled and looks to be joining fellow Toffees Yobo and Lescott as being a quality defender. In Saturday’s game at Goodison, Jagielka not only scored the winner but put in a wonderful defensive performance too. Jags said:
“I would love to have come here and been a fans’ favourite within a month, but it was always likely to take a little longer. I knew I was coming here to be part of a team, rather than the shining light.
“It was still tough, though. From being a big fish in a small pond and playing every week I was suddenly in a position where, even if I did play, I couldn’t be sure of which position. I had friends and family round me who talked me through it and told me to be patient and I think I have cleared that hurdle now.”
“It was great to get the winning goal but, as a defender, I take most satisfaction from that challenge at the end.”
The Moyesiah himself said:
“He had a few doubts about himself in the early days,~” said Moyes, “and there were times when he seemed to wonder whether he had taken a step too far. It was a step up for him and it’s not always easy settling in straight away and proving you are up to it.
“But I never had any doubts. I knew what he was about and took the chance to tell him so whenever I thought he needed lifting. I would say things to him in training and make sure he worked hard at raising his whole tempo and gradually we are seeing him take it on board and grow in confidence.
“He was outstanding in this game, not just for his goal, but that saving tackle when we were in danger of dropping two points. He can be a great player for us in a number of roles and I think the supporters now realise he can be relied on every week.”
So will Jagielka be another great signing for Moyes?