Sport-locker.net met up with Everton and England defender Phil Jagielka at an exclusive adidas photo shoot to talk new boots, balls and the World Cup…
What are your first impressions of the new adidas Predator and colourway?
First thing that comes to mind is they are very pink! There are not to many pink boots out there so that is perhaps why adidas have decided to go down that road. They are nice and bright. Obviously been wearing the boots for a little while so nothing will change in that respect except when I look down my feet will look much brighter.
How does the boot selection process work? Do you just wear what adidas send you or do you have more of a say?
Adidas obviously have lots of players so it would be tricky to cater to every individual need. We don’t tend to have too much input but if lots of players like a certain boot they will take that feedback on board. Similarly if a certain colour is popular then adidas might use that more or bring it back.
For me it is all about the feel of the boot. So if it is not comfortable or there is an issue with the performance of the boot then adidas will listen to that. So far I have yet to wear a bad adidas boot so I’m happy to be wearing them.
The boots feel super light. Does that impact on your game?
There are not many leather boots around now so they tend to be much lighter. I like a light pair and there are even lighter boots than the predator like the F50s. That is the way it is going now, players don’t want to feel like they are running around in a pair of wellington boots!
Do you see any of your younger team mates coming of age in time for the World Cup?
There are always a couple who come of age in World Cup year and I’m sure Roy Hodgson has got his eye on a few players. Being at Everton the one I know best is Ross Barkley but we’ve also got John Stones who is doing well.
Do you feel like the centre back position for England is yours to lose now?
Not really, I have played the last few games but all it takes is one little injury or a loss of form and there are four or five players ready to step in to your place. I don’t expect to play but I hope to play. If we don’t get the right results in the two remaining qualifiers we won’t get to Brazil. So for me it is about turning up at the next squad and hopefully playing and getting the right result as a team.
Has being made Everton club captain changed your approach to games?
It hasn’t affected the way I go into games but there is a bit more responsibility. That is probably the biggest thing especially with the new manager and coaching staff at the club. I have been a bridge between the coaching staff and the players which has made it a bit more difficult.
Do you fear coming up against any of your Everton team mates at the World Cup?
Not really, it is a bit strange playing against someone you know. Guys like Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith I have played against recently and these are the guys you have a laugh and a joke with in training every day so it is a bit of a strange one. I would rather play against someone I know because you already know their strengths and weaknesses which is a bit of an advantage.
You have played alongside Gary Cahill for England a lot recently and with Sylvain Distin at Everton. How does the chemistry work for centre backs? Is it something that just clicks?
There are players you play well with but the more playing time you have with them the better and easier it becomes. It is not a case of if it doesn’t work then move on to the next one. It is about working on it and getting to know their game and letting them get to know yours. You can have the two best defenders in the world but if they don’t work well together it will be a bit of a disaster.
What has it been like working with Roy Hodgson and how does his approach differ from club managers?
Obviously you get much less time to work with the national squad so you do try to create that club atmosphere. Ideally Roy would have six months with the squad but that can’t happen. The England job is a very difficult one and I think Roy has done a great job so far.
What are your first impressions of the new Brazuca World Cup ball?
I got my hands on it for the first time today and once again adidas have produced a great ball. I remember as a kid buying an adidas Tango and obviously times have changed quite a bit since then! The colours on the new one are good, hopefully I will get the chance to play with it in the summer and have some good memories of it.
What do you think of the new predators? Do you think Phil Jagielka deserves a place in the England squad for World Cup 2014? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.