Everton teen Jarrad Branthwaite claims the Toffees youngsters ARE good enough to play in the Premier League as the defender looks to save Rafa Benitez’s job at Goodison Park
- Jarrad Branthwaite has emerged as a key figure for injury and Covid-hit Everton
- The defender scored Everton’s equaliser in their unlikely 1-1 draw at Chelsea
- The Toffees are resorting to teens as they deal with injuries and a Covid crisis
- Branthwaite claims Everton’s youngsters are good enough for Rafa Benitez
Jarrad Branthwaite was only two-years-old when Rafa Benitez conjured up the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ to win the Champions League with Liverpool, now he’s one of the kids fighting to turn around the Spaniard’s fortunes at Goodison Park.
Branthwaite scored Everton’s unlikely equaliser at Chelsea in their last game as one of five players aged 20 or under fielded by Benitez because of an injury crisis.
Everton have won only one of their last 11 games but Branthwaite believes he kids are ready to do a job for their manager.
Jarrad Branthwaite is one of the kids hoping to save Rafa Benitez’s job at Everton this season
Branthwaite scored Everton’s goal in their unlikely 1-1 draw at Chelsea with an injury-hit team
‘The fighting mentality we saw out there showed we are good enough to do this,’ said 19-year-old Branthwaite who turned in a cross from another youngster Anthony Gordon at Stamford Bridge.
‘All the young players here have the ability. They are top players. It is up to the manager whether he gives us the chance.
‘You could see against Chelsea, myself, Ellis (Simms), Lewis (Dobbin) and Anthony – we all got on the pitch and showed what we can do. We just have to prove we are good enough to be out there.
‘I think the manager will enjoy working with us as much as we do. He can bring all his knowledge to develop our game. To be coached by one of the best in the world is massive.’
Branthwaite believes that Everton’s youngsters proved last time out they are good enough
Branthwaite was signed by Everton from his hometown club Carlisle at the start of last year. A ball-playing central defender, a loan spell in The Championship with Blackburn last season toughened hi up physically.
Everton have been missing nine players to injury including key forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Andros Townsend.
Fans have been critical of the manager and board in recent weeks as the club have slid down the table but Branthwaite says the point at Chelsea has improved the atmosphere.
‘We went into the game as underdogs but to get a point has lifted the mood in the camp.
‘My goal added the icing on the cake, my first in the Premier League. The manager said to enjoy the moment but was also telling me things I could have improved on, like not being too narrow in the back-three. Giving me pointers.
The teenager claims the mood has lifted at Goodison Park after their draw in west London
‘Seamus Coleman summed it up when he said to me after the game, enjoy it now, while you can. Tomorrow we have to go again and get ready for Burnley on Boxing Day. Keep building.’
Branthwaite has shelved plans for now to go out on loan again for the second half of the season as he covers for more senior players.
‘I’ve been patient to get that first-team chance at Everton. I just felt I should go out there and prove that I am good enough. Hopefully I have done that.
‘Young players need to play but obviously I would much rather stay at Everton and play games and keep showing the manager what I’m capable of. I’m willing to do it, I’m good enough to do it.’