Gerrard could play Pirlo role for England, says Jagielka

The Everton centre-back is expecting competition for places in Roy Hodgson’s side ahead of World Cup 2014 and believes that only the captain’s spot in the team is secure

Everton defender Phil Jagielka believes that an ageing Steven Gerrard can adapt his game to become England’s Andrea Pirlo ahead of World Cup 2014.

The England and Liverpool captain, who missed the end of the Premier League season after having shoulder surgery, will be 34 by the time of the tournament in Brazil next year.

And Jagielka expects Gerrard to abandon his all-action midfield displays and adopt an approach reminiscent of the Italy stalwart, who has enjoyed success for club and country since moving to Juventus in 2011.

“There’s tough competition for places in pretty much all positions,” he told reporters. “There isn’t anyone who has it nailed down, apart from possibly Stevie but it’s a big year for him as well.

“He’s getting that bit older and I see him changing his game for England a bit. He’s still got the range of passing. Pirlo doesn’t move around much but still gets in and makes things happen. If Stevie does that and doesn’t run around as much – with his range of passing – that could make us stronger.”

England face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly on Wednesday before making the trip to Rio to face Brazil just four days later.

Jagielka thinks that it is anybody’s guess as to who could be in the side for both games, ahead of the resumption of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I wouldn’t like to put money on who will be in the starting XI,” he added. “Look at the centre-backs we have – and even the full-backs aren’t guaranteed these days. I look at that as a positive.”

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