BREAKING: Phil Jagielka signs contract keeping him at the Club until 2017.— Official Everton (@Everton) January 3, 2013
The announcement comes one day after Everton defeated Newcastle United in their first match of the new year. So it's safe to say it's been a promising start to 2013 for the club's supporters. And locking up a key piece of the back line should build confidence.
Jagielka doesn't garner the type of attention he deserves for his consistently reliable play in the middle of Everton's defense. Playing for just two clubs throughout his career, Sheffield United and the Toffees, probably plays a role in that.
Much of the hype for defenders is generated when they're being discussed as potential transfers. But Jagielka has remained committed to Everton since joining the club in the summer of 2007, and the club rewarded him with a new deal.
The 30-year-old England international has made nearly 200 appearances across all competitions for the Liverpool-based squad. During that time, he's been one of the team's main stalwarts alongside goalkeeper Tim Howard.
He's not the type of player who's going to stand out from the crowd by making many highlight-reel plays, but for a central defender, that's usually a good thing. Jagielka is as steady as they come, and Everton knew they had to lock him up for a few additional years.
Now, the focus can shift back toward making a run at a European spot. The Toffees currently sit in the fifth position, just three points behind third place. If they can turn some of those draws into victories in the second half, the Champions League is certainly within reach.
With Jagielka at the back, Everton know the defense is in good hands.