Roberto Martinez says Phil Jagielka has a lot to offer England and will be fit enough in plenty of time for the European Championship.
The Everton captain is currently sidelined by a hamstring problem but is on track to return for the final match of the Premier League season against Norwich next weekend.
Jagielka originally sustained the injury a month ago and then aggravated it during the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United after being rushed back.
Roy Hodgson plans to name his 23-man squad for Euro 2016 three days before the last round of domestic fixtures, although the final deadline is not until May 31. England’s first match of the tournament in France is against Russia on June 11.
Martinez said: “There are injuries sometimes that you can’t really predict and this one we can predict. He’s already working at 60 per cent of his ability in terms of running.
“I would be very, very surprised if he’s not available for the Norwich game so there’s no accuracy that he could miss any length of time during mid-May. Phil Jagielka will be fully fit probably by May 12 or 13.”
Jagielka, who has 39 caps, has fallen down the pecking order with England behind Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and his Everton team-mate John Stones.
Reports this week suggested that Jagielka could be the man to miss out if Hodgson decides only to take seven defenders.
Martinez, though, cannot speak highly enough of the 33-year-old, saying: “The performance against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final typified what he is.
“Someone that he has got an incredible mindset, someone that the bigger the occasion, the better the response – and the way he can cope with any sort of defensive action is quite impressive.
“From Everton’s point of view, we want Phil Jagielka fit, enjoying his football and performing the way that he’s done in the last few seasons.”
Jagielka will definitely be missing for Everton’s trip to champions Leicester on Saturday.
The Toffees’ defensive problems remain, with Ramiro Funes Mori serving the final game of his three-match ban and Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry unlikely to be fit.
That is likely to mean Matthew Pennington keeping his place after making his debut in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Bournemouth, which ended a run of seven games without a win.
The three points did little to lift the pressure on Martinez but he vowed his team will do all they can to finish the season on a high note.
The Toffees boss said: “Our league form was affected since we beat Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. That took us into a very uncertain period in the league. Against Bournemouth we got that winning feeling back.
“We had a lot of good stories on the pitch, from the full debut of Matty Pennington, who I thought had a really solid game. Kieran Dowell, an exceptional talent, had his debut coming from the bench, and Oumar Niasse having his first start – and we really had a strong desire to get the win.
“Now we want to carry on in the same way. The focus is on the three games that we have, and that for us is important. The points tally at the end of the season matters, the position in the league matters, so for us that’s reason enough to be as good as we can.”