A highly-regarded young centre-half, Branthwaite was signed from
Carlisle United in January 2020. After coming through the youth
ranks at the Cumbrian club, he had only been awarded professional terms the previous season and made his senior bow in the Football League in October 2019,
starting in a 2–0 League Two loss away to Plymouth Argyle. He played the
full match and received a yellow card in the 40th minute but scored his
first professional goal for Carlisle in an EFL Trophy tie
against Morecambe on 12 November 2019, to become the their
Still only 17, Jarrad joined Everton's Under-23s set-up after arriving for an undisclosed fee, initially reported as being in the region of £750k before add-ons but which was described by Carlisle as "substantial" and signed a 2½-year deal with the Blues
despite having also been linked with Liverpool.
“I just can't wait to get started,” he said upon signing. “Everton is a big club and I'm
buzzing to be here. My long-term goal, 100 per cent, is to play for the Everton first-team in front of the great crowds at Goodison. That would be my dream.”
Though Branthwaite didn’t have a great deal of senior team experience,
he had wonderful defensive qualities as well as great versatility and
positional sense. Able to play in the back line as well as in midfield, it was felt that he could eventually pair up with
Mason Holgate but it was in the injured Holgate's stead that he would play when he made his full Everton debut in July 2020 towards the end of the coronavirus-disrupted 2020-21 season.
He had only got to play in a handful of games for the Under-23s before
the season was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the last four
games in Premier League 2 being cancelled but, when the Premier
League resumed, Branthwaite was drafted into the senior squad to
provide vital centre-back cover while Yerry Mina was out injured, taking
advantage of the rule change that allowed nine substitutes to be named
to the bench for each of the remaining nine games played out under "Project
Although his debut as a substitute was marred by a couple of errors at Wolves, Branthwaite slotted into Everton's back line seamlessly, displaying composure beyond his tender years. He made an excellent impression because the club
took the unprecedented step of giving him a new contract at the
beginning of July 2020, with his new terms set to run an additional year
through June 2023.
With Mason Holgate sustaining a medium-term injury in pre-season, Branthwaite had an opportunity for an extended run in the first team in the early part of 2020-21 but he succumbed to an ankle injury of his own on his first appearance of the new season and hobbled out of a League Cup Second Round tie against Salford City.
By the time he had regained his own fitness, Marcel Brands had been forced into the transfer market to snap up
Ben Godfrey from Norwich which meant that there were four centre-halves now standing between Branthwaite and a regular berth in the senior side. He took the opportunity, therefore, to secure a loan move to nearby Blackburn Rovers in January 2021 which would hopefully give him valuable game-time in a difficult league to continue his development.
“This was a no-brainer, this is the club I wanted to come to. It’s the
right decision from me and Everton feel it’s the right decision as well, so
it’s perfect for all parties.
Once you get a taste of first team football it’s something that’s
addictive, something you want more of. Hopefully, by me coming here, I
can get more minutes and develop further as a player.”
In truth, it wasn't the most successful loan for Branthwaite. After
nine games at Rovers, he was benched for poor form and sat out the next
nine. He was restored to the lineup against Derby and
reportedly had a decent game, but then was struck down by injury in training.
The defender made a total of 10 appearances during his
loan spell before that dip in form coincided with a difficult run of
results. However, he later reflected that it was a worthwhile experience despite it challenges: “The loan was challenging but
very good for my development. I developed my maturity level at Blackburn
and enjoyed my time there.”
Branthwaite returned to Finch Farm and a programme
of treatment and therapy to get him fit for the following season, but he
was not fit enough to play in any of the pre-season games under new
manager Rafael Benitez. He was named among the substitutes for the first two Premier League games
on the bench before getting to play in a League Cup win at
Huddersfield and would continue as defensive understudy and with 18 months still left on his
extended contract, the club negotiated a new deal for him in December 2021,
running for 3½ years through June 2025.
A combination of injuries and sickness in the
squad would finally force Benitez to use Branthwaite and a handful of
other youngsters in a Premier League game
at Chelsea and he performed superbly, scoring the
equaliser at the far post off a fine free-kick delivery from
Anthony Gordon in a very creditable draw at the
home of the European Champions.
However, a hamstring injury then caused him some trouble and he found it
hard to get much game time following the arrival of Frank Lampard as
new manager in January 2022. When he started against Brentford in a crucial relegation
battle, he was very unlucky to be sent off after just 18 minutes when
Ivan Toney ran across him as they jockeyed for a bouncing ball sent over
the top of Everton's stretched defence but played in the season finale against Arsenal, before heading out on loan to PSV Eindhoven for the 2022023 campoaughn.
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