Jarrad Branthwaite says working with Carlo Ancelotti is helping him develop the mentality to succeed at the highest level – and revealed the benefits he is gaining from going head-to-head with Assistant Manager Duncan Ferguson in one-v-one battles at USM Finch Farm.
Centre-back Branthwaite has made a hugely promising start to his Everton career, having joined the Club in January from League Two side Carlisle United.
The 18-year-old played Everton’s final four games of the season having made his Premier League debut in the Blues’ clash at Wolves on 12 July.
His polished, composed performances impressed manager Ancelotti, while the Italian also praised the defender’s character.
Ancelotti declared it was “a pleasure” to coach a young player with Branthwaite’s humility and willingness to learn.
Branthwaite says he is savouring the opportunity to work with a manager of Ancelotti’s calibre and is convinced the former AC Milan boss will help him to elevate his game to new heights.
“I still can’t believe I am learning from one of the best managers in the world,” said Branthwaite.
“He’s managed some great players over the years and won a lot of trophies.
“It’s brilliant for a player as young as me. I have to keep learning from him and keep working hard.
“He focuses on hard work, determination to win games and showing desire. That’s what he thrives off.
“If you’re focused on the game and are showing the right mentality, that’s what he wants to see.
“He wants everyone to develop as a player and Everton as a team, as well. That’s what we’re looking for next season.”
In his four senior matches for Everton, the teenager has displayed his capacity to stand up to the physical challenge posed by experienced top-flight attackers.
Branthwaite explained how testing himself in training against a legendary Everton centre-forward – renowned for his power, bravery and aggression – has provided an important learning experience.
“Duncan [Ferguson] was a great player – and now he is also helping me develop,” said Branthwaite.
“We’ve been doing some one-v-ones, me and him in training, [coaching] about getting tough with tackles and things like that.
“He’s still got it!”
Branthwaite made his Football League debut for Carlisle in October 2019 and admits he can scarcely comprehend the progress has made over the past 12 months.
The Cumbrian insists he will continue “giving it my all every day” to further advance his game.
“Playing first-team football in the Premier League at 18 is a dream and I’ve just got to keep working hard and push on now,” he added.
“That’s the main thing for me, really.
“I need to keep developing because I’ve still got loads of areas I need to improve on.
“That’s what I’m focusing on – getting better and helping the team when I can.”