Jagielka back for Everton

Defender back in action for reserves in clash with Liverpool

Phil Jagielka: The Everton defender played the full 90 minutes in a reserve game against rivals Liverpool

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Phil Jagielka inched closer to a place in the Everton first team by making a return in the goalless mini-Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Tuesday.

The defender came through his first appearance since sustaining medial knee ligament damage in early January by playing the full 90 minutes against Liverpool.

Joining him in the second string was explosive forward Victor Anichebe, who was getting a run-out for the full hour and a half to sharpen him up.

The striker has shaken off his groin injury sustained earlier in the season, but has failed to force his way into the first team since scoring at Wigan on 4th February.

Jack Rodwell also made a welcome appearance in an Everton shirt as he started his second successive reserve game.

Benefit

Fellow first-teamers Leon Osman, James McFadden and Seamus Coleman were also given run-outs to improve their match sharpness after recent injury lay-offs, to the delight of reserves boss Alan Stubbs.

"The fact that our side was more well-known definitely motivated them," he told the club's official website.

"It can sometimes be harder as manager when you make a lot of changes but that is what reserve team football is all about.

"The game will benefit our lads. It will benefit Jags to get 90 minutes, Faddy got some good match time, as did Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman and Victor.

"It is also a good opportunity for our younger players to play at Goodison. They need to show that they can cope with the big occasion and you learn a lot about them in situations like this."