Jarrad Branthwaite said Everton’s track record of developing young players for its first team was instrumental in his decision to join the Club from Carlisle United.
The 17-year-old defender has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal until the end of June 2022 and will link up with the Blues’ Under-23s team.
Branthwaite joins the Toffees having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Carlisle. The centre-back has made 11 senior appearances for the League Two outfit this season.
The teenager detailed his excitement about taking the next step in his career at Everton and explained why he believes the Club provides a perfect environment for him to progress.
Everton’s 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park on Saturday featured three players who honed their talents with the Blues’ Under-23s side – Mason Holgate, Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin – and Branthwaite revealed his ambition to follow in their footsteps.
“The pathway is superb – that’s what made me want to join Everton,” he told evertonfc.com.
“I’ve seen those players get their chance in the first team and do well.
“I just can’t wait to get started. Everton is a big club and I’m buzzing to be here.
“The facilities at USM Finch Farm are unbelievable. I like everything about the place.
“I want to settle in, get to know all the boys and put in some good performances for the Under-23s.
“My long-term goal, 100 per cent, is to play for Everton first team in front of the great crowds at Goodison. That would be my dream.”
Branthwaite added he is savouring the prospect of learning from Everton Under-23s manager David Unsworth.
Former Toffees defender Unsworth racked up 350 Everton appearances during a successful playing career. As Under-23s boss, he has led the young Blues to two Premier League 2 titles in the past three seasons.
“All the experience he has can help me develop as a player,” Branthwaite added.
“I’m really looking forward to working with him.
“As a player, I like to get the ball off the keeper and play out from the back – I’m good with both feet – but the main thing is I like to defend and stop the ball going into the back of the net. I love a clean sheet.
“I’m hungry to keep getting better and I believe I’m in the ideal place to do that.”