Phil Jagielka ready to make step up at Wembley for England
END of season international friendlies hardly grab the attention but all eyes from Goodison will be cast towards Wembley this Wednesday.
While Tim Howard is likely to start between the posts for the United States, fingers will be crossed that Phil Jagielka gets an opportunity to show he can carry his outstanding club form on to the biggest stage and win a first England cap.
Unlike previous England managers who gave call-ups based on media popularity or whether a player was in vogue, it is clear to see that Fabio Capello will only pick someone for national service if he feels they merit it.
Few who have seen Jagielka in action during the past six months would not dispute he deserves it, a man who has grown in confidence and has played with such composure that Joleon Lescott - an outstanding central defender - has been forced to play as a left-back.
Still, the call up came as a complete surprise to the former Sheffield United man. Having envisaged that his season would end after Everton's tussle with Newcastle United, he had booked a golfing holiday for some family and friends to unwind.
The next few days, however, will see Jagielka being put through his paces on the perfect pitches at Arsenal's London Colney training base, rather than pacing perfectly manicured fairways on the Mediterranean.
Not that he is complaining, though. Nor should he feel overawed by his inclusion. Tough, durable and an excellent reader of situations, this Jag does not have too many rough edges and is increasingly becoming a polished top flight performer.
Winning a cap against either the USA or Trinidad & Tobago would be a fitting end to a relentlessly progressive 12 months and there is every reason to believe that Capello will take a look at him at some point in one of those games.
An interesting footnote at Wembley, meanwhile, will be the performance of Michael Bradley.
Everton are still keen on the midfielder and a prominent showing could well speed up a possible move to Goodison.