Everton assistant manager Steve Round believes Phil Jagielka is on the verge of reaching his peak - which spells bad news for Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.
Jagielka, 28, deputised admirably for the injured duo last month in both of England's Euro 2012 qualifiers following his successful recovery from cruciate ligament injury.
There have been growing calls for the former Sheffield United defender to retain his place in Fabio Capello's starting XI, despite the return to fitness of Terry and Ferdinand.
"I still think he can improve a little bit but he is a player who is close to reaching the peak of his game," Round told Everton's official website.
"He is a top Premier League player and the international scene is the next step for him.
"It is up to Fabio to decide who plays. Rio is coming back and John Terry is a top centre-back but Phil is right up there with them and he won't let anyone down."