Phil Jagielka says Michael Keane is a “great signing” for Everton and is tipping his new Toffees teammate for a “fantastic” Goodison Park career.
Keane joined the Blues from Burnley in a then Club-record-equalling deal back in July, and has played every minute of the side's seven matches this season, scoring his first Everton goal in the home Europa League play-off round victory over Hajduk Split.
The 24-year-old defender won his first full England cap in Germany on 22 March this year – before quickly adding a second four days later – and is likely to be in contention for a place in the Three Lions squad at next year’s World Cup in Russia, assuming Gareth Southgate’s team bank the two points they need to secure qualification.
Captain Jagielka played for England in the 2014 World Cup and, now in his 11th season with Everton, is delighted to see the Club in a position to recruit footballers of Keane’s ilk.
“Michael is a great signing,” Jagielka told evertontv. “It is great we can go out there and spend that much money on a defender and strengthen after we had a pretty decent defensive record last year – and we will be looking to improve on it this season.
“I already knew Michael, he does not live too far away from me and I have seen him on the golf course a couple of times!
“He has played with a couple of the lads for England, myself included, and the transition from Burnley to here was quite easy for him.
“It was pretty easy helping him settle in as well. He is a great lad and is going to be a fantastic signing for us.”
Jagielka penned a new contract to keep him at Everton until at least summer 2019 on the eve of the Premier League season.
He started 25 top-flight matches for the Blues last term and has been in Ronald Koeman’s team for each of the first three games of this Premier League campaign.
Nevertheless, with Koeman purchasing Keane, in addition to the manager's acquisition of Ashley Williams 12 months previously, Jagielka acknowledges there is strong competition for places in the middle of Everton’s defence.
Typically, it is a scrap he is relishing.
“We have been able to bring in players for quite a lot of money,” said Jagielka. “As you get further on in your career, you realise you are not going to be first choice all the time.
“It is a different way of looking at football. You have to try to push the others as far as you can. Hopefully, that will make them better – and make me better as well.
“That is probably the position I will be in – it is something you have to embrace and get used to dealing with.
“As long as the team is moving forward, and you are part of it, that is what is important.”
Eleven years Keane’s senior, Jagielka admits the decade since he joined Everton from Sheffield United has passed in the blink of an eye.
Nevertheless, he is promising not to badger Keane with wise words about treasuring every moment.
“I don’t like to spoil things for people!” laughed Jagielka. “You have to enjoy it. I was speaking to Seamus Coleman recently about how quickly it all goes. Time flies when you are having fun!
“Hopefully, it will be the same for Michael, and you will be speaking to him in six, seven and eight years’ time – and he will be having a fantastic career with Everton.”
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