Derby County have endured a very turbulent period from the pre-season period right the way through to their 12 point deduction for entering into administration being confirmed.
The Rams at the start of pre-season and even just ahead of their opening Championship match against Huddersfield Town were facing the genuine issue of playing the full campaign with a real threadbare squad.
Eventually though, restrictions around a transfer embargo were lifted. That enabled Wayne Rooney to add some free-agents to his squad who had been training with the Rams and also playing some of Derby’s pre-season matches.
Initially, Ryan Allsop, Ravel Morrison and Richard Stearman were all signed by Derby ahead of their opening fixture against Huddersfield.
Jagielka and Sam Baldock both had to wait a little while longer, but were eventually added to Rooney’s squad on August 17th.
As a result, Jagielka missed Derby’s first three matches of the campaign against Huddersfield, Salford City in the League Cup and then the defeat at Peterborough United.
Jagielka would make up for that immediately on his debut for Derby in their impressive 1-0 win away to Hull City. That was a performance that reflected the real fighting spirit that this group of players have for this season despite all of the off-field issues.
The defender played a massive part in that win at Hull alongside Curtis Davies in what was a very experienced heart of Derby’s defence.
On that night the defender managed to win 67% of the defensive duels that he contested and that included a 50% aerial dues win rate. The experienced defender was also able to make an impressive eight interceptions and also two clearances (Wyscout).
That was a performance that showed the sort of steel and defensive experience that Jagielka was going to bring to Derby’s backline, and under their current circumstances those are qualities that are much-needed for the Rams.
Overall so far this term, Jagielka has helped the Rams record three clean sheets in his opening six Championship matches.
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Apart from a difficult evening at Birmingham City, where the defender won just 25% of his defensive duels and made only three clearances (Wyscout) he has been very consistent with his defensive output.
That has seen Jagielka win an average of 5.74 duels per game at a 71.6% win success rate, as well as winning 6.19 aerial duels per match at an average of a 59.1% successes rate (Wyscout).
While the defender has also managed to average 6.92 interceptions and 4.83 clearances per game (Wyscout).
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Jagielka has also been a decent enough distributor out from the back for Rooney’s side. That comes with the Derby boss setting up his side to attempt to build the play through the thirds in most of the games.
Although the away game at West Brom was an exception to that where he attempted more long passes as Derby looked to beat the press of the Baggies.
The 39-year-old has averaged an 85.9% passing accuracy and has made an average of 6.15 passes directly into the final third so far in his six Championship matches. While the defender’s long pass accuracy has averaged at 55.6% (Wyscout).
In many respects, Jagielka has been a perfect addition to the squad in Derby’s current predicament. His experienced and reading of the game have been vital to helping Rooney’s side achieve some good results so far.
Apart from the Birmingham City game really Jagielka’s lack of pace alongside Davies as well in the back four has not been overly exposed by opponents.
Rooney seems to have made a very wise decision in signing Jagielka at a time when many thought his career might have been over after his release from Sheffield United at the end of last term.
Whether age will catch up with Jagielka as the season progresses remains to be seen. However, so far there have not been many signs of that happening and his reading of the game should help ease the workload that he has to do out of possession.