What Everton Must Do After Break
Jarrad Branthwaite has laid out what Everton must do to keep improving after the international break – as the young defender revealed the confidence him and his teammates will take from Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Sheffield United.
The 21-year-old started his second Premier League match on the bounce, lining up alongside stand-in captain James Tarkowski in the heart of the Blues’ defence at Bramall Lane.
Branthwaite took his chance to impress again, earning praise from manager Sean Dyche at full-time and finishing the contest having won the most aerial duels for his side (six), along with the highest number of interceptions (two), and joint-highest clearances of four alongside Tarkowski.
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s opener gave Everton a 14th-minute lead in south Yorkshire, only for the Blades to go in at half-time 2-1 up following Cameron Archer’s leveller and a dreadfully unlucky Jordan Pickford own goal.
Dyche’s men regrouped after the interval, though, and found a deserved leveller through Arnaut Danjuma before Pickford’s magnificent double save in injury-time helped secure a first Premier League point of the campaign.
Branthwaite says Everton will take confidence from that, and from producing another performance where they were the better team.
But the defender also insists the Blues have to follow boss Dyche’s message to stay switched on throughout matches to ensure they are getting the full rewards they deserve.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Branthwaite told evertontv. “When we went 1-0 up, I think we were dominating and we just took our foot off the gas a little bit. In this league, that kills you.
“We go in at half-time 2-1 down despite dominating but the gaffer said we have to keep full focus for every minute throughout the game. We came out second half and started it sharp. We got our goal and I thought we deserved more.
“It’s a massive boost in confidence to get something from the game and we know we could have got more. We were the better team, it was just that lack of concentration with the two goals.
“Other than that and the chance they had at the end, we didn’t let them create much else. It gives us confidence going into the international break. We’ve got things we can learn from to develop us.
“That’s what we’ll do and we’ll come back after the international break ready to go again.
“We can start afresh but we also need to learn from the first four games, the mistakes that have been made and switching off which has cost us goals and points.
“We created so many chances in our two home games, we didn’t score, and we switched off for one moment and the opposition scored. That shows the quality in this league.
“We can take what has happened in those four games, develop on some things and go again.”
Branthwaite returned to Everton in the summer, fresh from a successful 2022/23 on loan at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and after helping Lee Carsley’s England Under-21s become European champions.
Having joined the Blues from hometown club Carlisle United in January 2020, the young defender is now eager to stay in Dyche’s starting XI, and is welcoming the challenge of becoming a regular.
“After the Stoke pre-season friendly I said that I was ready to play and whenever the gaffer chooses me to play, I’m there,” added Branthwaite. “The two games I’ve played so far I’ve given my all.
“Competition is key to keep you on your toes. Every good player needs competition to push yourself every day in training and to be in that team at the weekend.
“We’ve got a positive result on Saturday and we’ll be ready to go again after the international break.”
After the Stoke pre-season friendly I said that I was ready to play and whenever the gaffer chooses me to play, I’m there