Phil Jagielka, the England defender, was held at knifepoint and forced to hand over jewellery valued at about £10,000 when thieves broke into his Cheshire home.
The robbers may have believed that the Everton player was with the first team, who were playing away to Hull City in the Carling Cup on Wednesday evening, but he was at home nursing an injury. They struck shortly after 8pm at the modern £2 million mansion in Mere, near Knutsford, where the player lives with his wife, Emily, and two children.
Detectives said that the masked raiders evaded the extensive security system at the house and entered the property through the front door. Jagielka, who was watching television with friends at the time, was threatened with a knife before being forced to hand over jewellery, including his-and-her Rolex timepieces and a Breitling diamond watch, and the keys to his Range Rover, one of a number of luxury vehicles on the forecourt. The Range Rover was later found abandoned near by. It is not known whether his wife or the children were also in the house at the time.
Jagielka had been a regular in the Everton defence and had played three times for England until he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester City on April 25.
Cheshire Police said: “Shortly after 8pm on Wednesday, September 23, three men gained entry to a house in Knutsford. The homeowner was threatened with a knife and forced to hand over jewellery and the keys to his Range Rover.
“Fortunately nobody was hurt during the incident. A police investigation into this incident is under way and detectives are appealing to anyone who may have any information that may assist in this investigation to contact police.”