Everton star Jarrad Branthwaite called up by England

The Toffees centre-back has been brought into Gareth Southgate's latest senior England squad for the upcoming friendly internationals.

Everton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Everton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Branthwaite has been rewarded for his hugely impressive campaign in the Premier League having finally secured a starting place in the Everton first team.

The 21-year-old defender had been on the fringes of the Blues first-team in the summer after returning from a very successful loan spell in Holland at PSV Eindhoven.

This had come after a series of stop-start appearances for the Toffees which had seen him produce some mixed displays showing his potential at times but also underlining his inexperience in others.

During the summer there were rumours that other clubs might be interested in the youngster signed from Carlise back in January 2020. And certainly, PSV wanted to turn his loan into a permanent deal.

I was strongly of the view that Everton must keep him and give him a chance in the first-team to showcase what he could offer, especially as so many defenders had left the club.

However, he didn't immediately get a nod from Sean Dyche who preferred to stick with his former Burnley centre-back pair of James Tarkowski and Micheal Keane at the season's start.

Then, a few weeks in came a disastrous defeat at Aston Villa when Keane once more produced one of those characteristically error-strewn performances and Branthwaite finally got his chance.

And he hasn't looked back since.

Branthwaite has been in my view unarguably Everton's best player since he got into the team and has cemented his place alongside Tarkowski in one of the Premier League's best central defensive partnerships.

His combination of physical gifts and tremendous level-headed maturity has seen him quickly attract plenty of attention and admiration from pundits.

There have been plenty of rumours of other clubs wanting to try and sign the new England international, but not long ago he signed a new contract with the Blues keeping him at the club for another three years.

Now that he has achieved a goal to become a full England international his potential transfer value will only increase.

Not that I want Branthwaite to leave of course and I hope he can and will stay at Goodison Park as his development continues.

However, obviously if Everton fall through the relegation trap door (and maybe even if they don't) it would be impossible to keep hold of one of the brightest defensive talents in the game.