Calvert-Lewin On How He's Supporting Branthwaite

Dominic Calvert-Lewin will use memories of gatecrashing Everton’s First Team as a teenager to help Jarrad Branthwaite make a similarly convincing step from lower league hinterland into the Goodison Park spotlight.

Injuries to Mason Holgate and Yerry Mina opened the door to an unexpected senior opportunity for Branthwaite down the home straight of Everton’s 2019/20 campaign.

The defender, who signed in January following a handful of appearances for League Two Carlisle United and turned 18 in June, grabbed his playing chance with a series of proficient displays, belying his junior years and scant professional experience.

Calvert-Lewin equally came up on the rails, ostensibly arriving from League One Sheffield United four years ago to join up with Everton Under-23s but swiftly making a compelling claim for senior promotion.

The 23-year-old has played 134 games for the Club and scored 32 goals, maturing from a coltish attacker into Everton’s recognised number 9 and an influential figure in manager Carlo Ancelotti’s dressing room.

“I have played enough games to accept that role and have more of a voice in the team,” Calvert-Lewin told evertontv.

“Whether it is speaking to Jarrad and giving him advice where I can, or speaking to anyone else.

“I have that confidence, I wear the number 9 on my back so it is only right I accept that responsibility and try to lead the team from the front.

“I have said to him [Branthwaite], ‘You have a great chance, keep your head down, keep working’.

“He is a lovely kid, humble.

“I will be roughing him up every day in training, to get that aggressive side out of him, to make him as good a player as I possibly can.

“I am up against him every day, so I am sure he is enjoying that.

“I know it is tough being a young player coming into the First Team.

“If he needs an arm round him, I will be there to put it round him.

“He has great senior pros around him – and I am 23 now, so I can accept that role and guide him wherever I can.”

Branthwaite arguably reserved the pick of his quartet of assured performances for Everton’s visit to Calvert-Lewin’s old Bramall Lane haunt last month.

The teenager, impeccable four days earlier when he was a first-half substitute in a home draw with Aston Villa, resisted everything Sheffield United sent his way in tandem with Michael Keane as Everton secured a single-goal victory.

That success was Everton’s fifth away from Goodison during the season – and fourth overseen by Ancelotti.

By contrast, Everton won eight times at home and picked up 63 per cent of their Premier League points on their own ground.

Indeed, Ancelotti was unbeaten in his opening nine matches at Goodison, a run halted by the final-day setback against Bournemouth.

“Our away form has been disappointing and we don’t hide from that,” added Calvert-Lewin.

“After the manager came in, we were unbeaten at home for a long period and won more away games than previously.

“There has been a turnaround but it is a work in progress.

“Although performances have fluctuated, we’ve shown good signs we can take into next season.

“We really believe in ourselves and know we can go on to achieve what we want to.”