Marcel Brands must seal a January loan move for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite after Carlo Ancelotti lauded the turnaround of Yerry Mina’s season.
Branthwaite smashed into the senior fold as Ancelotti faced an injury crisis at centre-half last season, but took to the top-flight like a duck to water with the Italian left impressed by how the 18-year-old coped with replacing Mason Holgate at home to Aston Villa.
The Carlisle-born teen had only played 45 minutes of Premier League football before replacing Holgate after he suffered a recurrence of a shin problem, yet settled in as if he had played alongside Michael Keane for years.
Ancelotti lauded Branthwaite as being a “fantastic player” for Everton and one the former Chelsea boss felt was calm with the ball yet aggressive in chase of possession. He has, however, been unable to see more from the January arrival after the towering 6 ft 4 prospect tore ligaments in his left ankle against Salford City in the Carabao Cup.
Branthwaite stepped up his recovery with an impressive performance for David Unsworth’s Under 23s as they beat West Ham United 2-1 on Monday, catching the eye with a vital recovery early in the first-half to deny Sean Adarkwa a certain goal.
But the route back to senior football at Goodison Park is blocked, with Ben Godfrey, Holgate, Keane and Mina all securing minutes thus far this term and Ancelotti growing increasingly pleased with the efforts of his Colombian rock.
“I am happy with his level. He is doing better. He had some problems in some games but is now more focused and playing with confidence,” Ancelotti said of Mina, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo.
Mina has been the focus of criticism at times this season, with Ancelotti forced to defend himself from accusations the Italian’s decision to favour Holgate earlier in the term led the former FC Barcelona flop to collapse mentally.
Ancelotti had also questioned the level of Mina’s performances, stating “sometimes he makes mistakes”, but is clearly fond of how the 26-year-old has responded to the situation.
But Mina’s turnaround has closed the door for Branthwaite to worm his way back into the fold, and Everton Director of Football Brands must now see that another opens by securing the 18-year-old a move away on loan this winter.
Branthwaite will struggle to move up the pecking order on Merseyside without seeing those currently in favour sustain any injuries, and will be eager to earn another taste of first-team action than being stuck in the reserves biding his time.
Plenty of sides should show an interest in signing Branthwaite on a temporary deal if Ancelotti and Brands do put his services on the market, as the £1.8m-rated talent has plenty to offer.
Aside from being praised by Ancelotti for his calmness in possession and aggression to snatch the ball back, Dominic Calvert-Lewin also praises the youngster for being one of the fastest men at Everton.
“If it was a flat-out race, 100-metre race, you would have me, Ben Godfrey, probably Jarrad Branthwaite and I probably have to throw Richie [Richarlison] in there,” the frontman told Sky Sports, via quotes by the News and Star.