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Everton mainstay Jagielka hopeful of return

Injured Everton defender Phil Jagielka is optimistic of returning to action next month after a long rehabilitation from a knee injury. The 27-year-old centre-back has not featured for the Toffees since being carried off after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester City on April 25.

Having worked hard off the field to get back into shape Everton's 2008/9 player of the season can finally see a point when he can return to training.

"It's going well, still quite slow but that's part and parcel of it at the moment," he said. "I've just got to wait, and hopefully a few weeks into the new year I'll be able to start training and see where it goes from there."

Also waiting to return from knee injuries are playmaker Mikel Arteta, Victor Anichebe and captain Phil Neville.

To help fill a few gaps manager David Moyes has already agreed a deal to bring in experienced USA international Landon Donovan on loan. The Los Angeles Galaxy forward will link up with the team on January 2 for two and a half months while Major League Soccer is still in its close season.

Jagielka is excited by the impending arrival of the 27-year-old. "I've been watching the US team and seen how well they have done recently and he's been an integral part of that," the defender told Everton's official website. "He's a good player and hopefully he'll add some quality to the team.

"We've not got that many players at the moment, so he's another body with some quality in there. There's a few of us who have been out for a while now, and hopefully if we can all get back it will be like having some new players and we can kick on in the league."

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