Jarrad Branthwaite has explained how witnessing fellow talented teenager Anthony Gordon seize his chance to shine in the Everton First Team intensified his hunger to win a place in Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Academy graduate Gordon made 12 Everton appearances in 2019/20 and was handed his first senior start in the Blues’ Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool on 21 June.
Centre-back Branthwaite - who joined Everton from boyhood club Carlisle United in January – made his Toffees bow against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 12 July and featured in the Blues’ final four games of the campaign.
His mature, authoritative performances earned praise from boss Ancelotti, who said the 18-year-old “has a really good character and can be a fantastic player for us”.
Branthwaite was linked with several Premier League clubs before signing for Everton and detailed how the Club’s “proven pathway to the First Team” was key in his decision to move to Goodison Park.
And he explained how skilful attacker Gordon’s progress underlined the Club's commitment to providing a platform for young talents to flourish.
“Seeing Anthony getting his chance only makes younger players want to achieve what they’re achieving – to train harder and get better and hopefully get in that team,” Branthwaite said.
“I’ve done that so far but the hard work is just beginning.
“If someone was to say I’d be playing in the Premier League at this stage, I’d have never believed it.
“I’ve just got to take it in my stride, keep working hard and see where next season takes me.”
Branthwaite only made his senior professional debut in October last year, starting Carlisle’s League Two match against Plymouth Argyle.
His former manager at the Cumbrian side, Steven Pressley, recently told evertonfc.com he “never considered” leaving Branthwaite out of his starting XI again and tipped the defender as a future England international.
The teenager made a total of 14 appearances for Carlisle before making the switch to Everton.
Branthwaite detailed the key distinctions between performing in League Two and the Premier League – and how he has quickly had to adjust and elevate his game.
“League Two is more physical, with long balls and things like that, and the Premier League is a lot quicker,” he added.
“It’s all 100mph but with quality, too.
“That’s what you’ve got to develop – to be able to play it quickly but with quality. The pace of the game is the biggest thing to adapt to.
“It’s a big leap but I’ve just got to keep working hard to keep developing my agility and other aspects. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
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