Naismith doubts former Everton team-mate will join Celtic

Date published: Friday 7th June 2019 2:01

Phil Jagielka is unlikely to make a move to Celtic this summer after his Everton contract expires, according to former team-mate Steven Naismith.

Jagielka has spent the last 12 years with Everton, six of them as club captain, and will be moving on after making 385 appearances for the Premier League club. The 36-year-old hitting 19 goals in that spell.

He will leave the Merseyside club this summer upon the expiry of his contract and reports have linked the centre-back with a move north of the border to Neil Lennon’s Celtic.

However, Naismith a team-mate of Jagielka’s at Goodison Park for four years has revealed he doubts this move will happen.

He told the Herald: “I saw Jags in January when I went down during the winter break.

“He’s a top player, he’s more of a footballing defender if you like. He maybe doesn’t look like that a lot of times in games but he is a very good footballer who could easily play in midfield.

“As he’s got older he’s played less, but I think he’s still got loads of qualities. When I saw he was leaving Everton my first thought was where he’ll go. I can’t see him finishing because he has a lot to offer and loves football.

“Will that be in Scotland? I would be surprised if he came up here.

“He’s got more association with different clubs down south, like Sheffield United where he came through, and he has a family with kids who are going through school. So with all those thoughts to consider I’d be surprised if he comes to Scotland.”

Naismith added: “But I’m sure he’ll play on at a good level.

“He’s a very good pro and over the last year or year-and-a-half at Everton it has been tough for him because he was a mainstay and would have wanted to play all the time.

“But from talking to him and other boys at Everton he has had the mental strength to adapt to that. He’s the club captain and has to have a level of professionalism and he would carry that off easily.”

Jagielka has also been linked with a move back to his former club Sheffield United, who have just been promoted back to the Premier League. Jagielka made 287 appearances for the Blades in his 7 years at the club.

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