Phil Jagielka said it was a “perfect night” after leading England out as captain for the first time as they beat Lithuania to wrap up a 100 per cent record in qualifying.
The Everton defender was wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill, as strikes from Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and an own-goal sealed a 3-0 victory in Lithuania.
They also collected another clean sheet, their eighth during their ten qualifiers, while it was also an opportunity for a number of England’s younger players to gain important experience.
Lithuania 0-3 England
UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifier
Monday 12 October 2015
LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania
“It was fantastic, a great honour. I never through it would happen,” Jagielka told FATV after the game.
“I’ll get my shirt signed by the lads and get photos put up. It’s something I’m really proud of and no one can take that away from me – and the lads decided to win as well so it was a perfect night.
“Winning 10 was the idea and the plan when we started the qualifying campaign. We knew it was going to be difficult but as the games went on they performed really well and it became more realistic that it could happen.”
He added: “It could have been a really tricky game tonight and the squad [Roy Hodgson] put out didn’t have that many caps.
“There aren’t many people in double-figures so it was nice to give some of the young lads a try in a competitive game which meant something.
“Fair play to the boys – some well taken goals and some good performances tonight.”
The 33-year-old was part of the England squad who experienced a disappointing World Cup in 2014 after getting knocked out in the group stages.
The Three Lions have not lost a game since the tournament in Brazil while some key figures, such as Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, have retired from international football.
But Jagielka believes the new plyers coming in have certainly made an impact and will make the manager’s job of selecting a 23-man squad for France next summer a very difficult task.
He said: “It was a smooth transition [since the World Cup], with different personnel. The competition for places is really strong but at the same time it’s a good rivalry and a friendly atmosphere when you come.
“We’ve proved what a good team we are. We’ve shown the togetherness and the will to win and we’ve done that.
“We’ve got some tough friendlies coming up so we need to maintain that confidence for those.
“Everyone is on the same page and wants to win games and that’s what we’ve done.”
Jagielka added: “Probably the hardest job between now and France is the manager’s, he’s got to try and whittle this really good pool of players down and decide which players he’s taking with him.
“There are a lot of games to be played in international and club football so it’s going to be interesting.”
Phil Jagielka and Jack Butland on England's perfect 10
England's next home game is against Euro 2016 hosts France at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 17 November. You can get tickets online now via TheFA.com/tickets