LIVERPOOL, June 4 – Beaten FA Cup finalists Everton were boosted on Wednesday as international trio club captain Joseph Yobo, Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka signed contract extensions with the club.England international defender Jagielka was Everton’s player of the season but the former Sheffield United star missed the 2-1 FA Cup final defeat by Chelsea last Saturday because of a serious knee injury.
Nigerian international defender Yobo was Everton manager David Moyes first signing in 2002, while American international goalkeeper Howard joined on loan in 2006 from Manchester United and signed a permanent deal in 2007.
Moyes, whose feats in guiding Everton into next season’s Europa Cup and to the FA Cup final on a relatively limited budget by Premier League standards saw him named League Manager’s Association’s (LMA) manager of the year, was delighted to have secured their signatures to new deals.
"It’s great that three valuable members of the squad have committed themselves to the club for a lengthy period," said Moyes, who earlier in the week rejected overtures from Scottish giants Celtic to replace Gordon Strachan as manager.
"Tim, Phil and Joseph have been big players for us over the last few years and it’s great news that they will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
"I have been pleased with the way we’ve gone about our business. We spoke to Phil, Tim and Joseph and we got everything done and dusted efficiently and quietly, which is the way we like things to be done."
Moyes has already stressed he has no plans to sell any players from his squad, but he acknowledges he has to strengthen if he is to have any chance of improving on last season’s fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
Everton were devastated by serious injuries, with Jagielka’s ruptured knee ligament the last in a long line which saw the seasons of Aiyegbeni Yakubu (Achilles), Mikel Arteta and Victor Anichebe (both knee) ended prematurely.
Further injuries to Louis Saha, James Vaughan and Nuno Valente saw the Toffees play most of December and January without a recognised centre-forward.