Everton have been suffering with an injury crisis throughout this season, seeing many key players missing for large chunks of the season which has inevitably led to the side falling into 16th in the Premier League, and struggling to gain wins to climb out of a potential relegation battle.
But, new manager Frank Lampard has been able to guide the Toffees to their first win in the league since the beginning of December with a 3-0 victory over Leeds United, and momentum is now well and truly in their favour.
The task is still not complete and with further injuries racking up since the ex-Chelsea bosses arrival, it could be a good opportunity to look at the youth Everton have on offer.
Yerry Mina has now sustained his second serious injury of the season, with the player already missing 39 days for Everton over October and November last year, and will now be missing for at least 8-10 weeks as Lampard confirms that the thigh injury was more serious than first thought.
With that being said, Lampard should be capitalising on the opportunity to develop a younger player, something he was renowned for doing at Chelsea and Derby during his managerial career, giving Mason Mount and Reece James their Premier League debuts who have now gone on to be integral to their side, winning the Champions League following his departure from Stamford Bridge.
One player that has already proven he can make an impact on this Everton side is Jarrad Branthwaite, who was given his Premier League debut by Rafael Benitez when the side found themselves in an injury crisis at the end of last year ahead of their clash at Stamford Bridge.
The 19 year old not only put in a confident defensive performance under pressure against the Chelsea side with two tackles and one interception, but also managed to score the equalising goal that secured Everton a much needed point away from home.
Lampard did give an opportunity to Branthwaite against Newcastle United after Mina got injured late in the first half, with the side struggling to control the game it eventually led to a defeat of 3-1.
The £2.7m-rated gem who “has got everything” according to former manager Steven Pressley, could be Phil Jagielka 2.o if he can break into the first team squad and seizes the opportunity in Mina’s absence to gain a starting spot in the side.
Like Jagielka, Branthwaite did not come through the Everton youth academy but has developed at the club to become one of their own, especially after his phenomenal goal at Stamford Bridge, with the potential of building a stronger connection with the fans the more he is given the chance to play.
That could eventually lead to the young centre back following in the footsteps of Jagielka if he can build a career and emulate the loyalty shown by the ex-Everton defender.
The Toffees boss will have a challenge on his hands as he tries to establish a philosophy that will win Everton crucial games and will have to decide who he trusts to save Everton’s season in a short amount of time, especially with barely any room for error.
Branthwaite must make an impactful impression on his manager in the coming weeks that Mina is side-lined for.
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