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Jagielka: Everton rejection was making of me

Phil Jagielka says being rejected by Everton as a teenager was the making of him.

Everton let Jagielka go when he was 15 only to return to the club from Sheffield United last summer for £4million - but he is glad he got the chance to learn the game the hard way.

Jags explained: "If I'd have stayed at Everton, I might not be in football now.

"People who were seen to be better than me at the time are playing in lower leagues - or not in the game at all.

"So it's fantastic I went to Sheffield and got my chance.

"When I went there on trial I soon realised it was a little bit harder. There were no shin-pads and people were smashing you.

"I was thinking ‘What's going on here?' But it made me mature. I left school, left home, went to live in Sheffield and grew up.

"I think the fact I made it the hard way shows. And, after a sticky start, I couldn't have asked for a better first season with Everton.

"I've had a nice run in the side and feel settled. That is helping me play my best football."

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