Jarrad Branthwaite admits Everton loan, reveals Rafa Benitez’s message

Jarrad Branthwaite described his emotions after scoring his first Everton goal against Chelsea and opened up about the journey he has had to this position.

The center-back was a surprise addition to the starting lineup for the trip to Stamford Bridge earlier in the month, with Rafa Benitez’s options seriously depleted by injury and illness.

However, those who stepped onto the pitch rallied admirably and secured a 1-1 draw against Thomas Tuchel’s side thanks to Branthwaite who managed a brilliant cross from Anthony Gordon.

Thinking back on the strike, the defender admitted he didn’t remember too much about his celebration in particular.

He said: “I can’t tell you what went through my mind when I scored at Chelsea last week, only that there was a release of pure emotion.

“I remember my knee slipping and looking up to see the fans going crazy. That’s it.

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“My dad called when we were on the bus home and it was great to have that time to talk to him.

“My goal was the icing on the cake, my first in the Premier League.

“The manager said take advantage of the moment, but he also said things to me that I could have improved, like not being too tight in the last three.

Branthwaite also rethought his time as a youngster in the Carlisle setup.

The defender learned a lot about pressure when injury kept him out for 18 months, around the time a decision had to be made regarding his scholarship with the club.

“When I was about 14, I suffered from Osgood-Schlatter disease,” he continued.

“The disease causes inflammation just below the knee, where the patella tendon attaches to the tibia. It is often caused by growth spurts and I was.

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“I was away for 12 to 18 months, on and off, and couldn’t run for much of that time.

“When it came time to decide on scholarships, Carlisle said I had six weeks to show them how much I wanted it – and that I was good enough.

“I learned a bit about pressure early on, then. “

Branthwaite was loaned out in the second half of last season at Blackburn but an injury cut his time with the Championship club short.

There was an initial feeling the Blues could move the defender to another temporary club in the next transfer window in an attempt to give him more playing time.

However, the teenager admitted that he would rather stay at Everton and show Benitez what he’s capable of.

He added: “I was patient to have that first-team chance at Everton. I just felt I had to go out there and prove that I’m good enough. I hope I did.

“Young players need to play, but obviously I would much rather stay at Everton and play games and continue to show the manager what I’m capable of. I’m ready to do it, I’m good enough to do it .

“All the young players here have the ability. They are top players. It’s up to the manager if 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’re good enough to be the low.

“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 huge.”

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