As Phil Jagielka prepares to return to Goodison Park on Saturday with Sheffield United, he will no doubt be slightly nervous of the reception he receives. Old boys going back to their former clubs are not always happy occasions and the welcome mat is not often put out for them.
However, Everton boss Marco Silva is certain there will be a big reception for Jagielka on his return to Everton.
The veteran defender makes his first return to Merseyside with the Blades after a 12-year stay with the Toffees ended in the summer when he was released on a free transfer back to his former club.
Jagielka has only made one Premier League appearance for the Chris Wilder’s so far but, whether he is on the pitch, on the bench or in the stands, Silva expects the 37-year-old to be given a hearty welcome back. “For sure he will have the reception he deserves, no doubts about that,” said the Everton boss.
“You know how our fans are, the passion for our club, and for the players who give 100 per cent of his commitment for the blue shirt it’s normal they have the reception they deserve. “Phil Jagielka will have for sure the big reception until the moment we kick off and after that we want to win and for sure he will want the same because he’s a professional but it will be nice to see how they will welcome him in our stadium again.”
Of course, managers and fans sometimes look at things through rose-tinted glasses, I’m sure Wayne Rooney gave 100 per-cent for the club when he played there but his return with Manchester United were not always the warmest of welcomes, hot would be a better description.
The remit is nearly always the same, were they loved when they played at the club, did they leave in normal circumstances and are they still in a position to hurt the club by turning on the style that made them so popular against their former club.
Jagielka ticks the box on all counts and therefore his return will be welcomed by the home fans but it is not a given for every player and some legends of the game have become hate figures on their return to their original stamping ground, although most of them had the temerity to join their most despised opponents.
There is little worse for fans than to see a player they love and adore kissing the badge one week and then doing the same to their arch-rivals’ crest soon after.
Jagielka can rest assured though his reception will be a good one.