Branthwaite the latest to join the walking wounded

Thursday, 22 April, 2021 17comments  |  Jump to last

Jarrad Branthwaite's season has come to a premature end after he suffered a serious injury while on loan with Blackburn Rovers.

Branthwaite, who was signed on a half-season loan from Everton in January, had featured against Derby County on Friday evening but missed the trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, his foot in a protective boot as a result of ankle ligament damage.

The 18-year-old defender made a total of just 10 appearances during his loan spell before a dip in form coincided with a difficult run of results. The player is likely to need a programme of treatment and therapy to get him fit again for next season.


Reader Comments (17)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 22/04/2021 at 15:47:03
The manager, Tony Mowbray, says “Jarrad rolled his ankle pretty badly in training and I don’t think we’ll be seeing him again this season. I think he’s got ligament damage in his ankle, that’s what it looks like without getting a full report."

It hasn't been a very 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 last week against Derby and reportedly had a fine game, but the injury will prevent him getting any more action.

Derek Knox
2 Posted 22/04/2021 at 17:25:54
Yes, Mike G, a shame when we all had so many hopes pinned on the lad. I always look out for any of our lads to see how they are progressing, but it seems both Jarrad and Anthony Gordon are not exactly having the best of loans.
Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 22/04/2021 at 17:59:52
He's only 18, DK. Don't give up yet. I wasn't too consistent at 18 either.
Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 22/04/2021 at 20:06:15
We should have a scorecard for the number of failed loans – a lot are through injuries like this.

Again, I contrast the well-meaning ideas behind these loans and the ultimate reality of their very limited success or – seemingly more likely, their abject failure.

But people will still spout the conventional 'wisdom' about how good it is for them to get first-team experience, and how this benefits them and us... Personally, I'm not convinced that's what the overall record shows.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 22/04/2021 at 20:25:16
I think going on loan is something that might start happening to more young Everton players Michael. Going out on loan at 18-19, rather than waiting until they’re older, might become part of the club’s strategy now that Marcel Brands has signed a new contract, maybe?
Robert Tressell
6 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:20:21
Michael, I know you don't like loans. But do you expect Branthwaite to get better playing U23s football? Or do you think he should be in our first team already? Those are the only other options for him to play football aren't they?
Michael Kenrick
7 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:33:07
I hope not, Tony, but then I don't like the loan system. I don't see any of the benefits claimed in real terms.

It seems to be more of a sign that it's unlikely to work out; you're not going to get much playing time with Everton, so you might as well go somewhere else.

In Jarrad's case, he's been really unfortunate. With the Covid break stopping his progress, then getting an ankle injury at a critical time and forcing Brands to bring in Godfrey, who has turned out to be great, so totally blocking his progress.

I hadn't noticed that this is another ankle injury... 50% chance it's the same one, which would not be good, surely. Still another 2 years on his contract. What's the odds he never plays in the senior team again?

Danny O’Neill
8 Posted 22/04/2021 at 21:42:13
The question is what is the alternative?

Not ready for the first team. The U23s not the best platform for their development. Training matches on Finch Farm do not replicate competitive matches.

Where do we play them and give them experience?

I'd go for the B team concept personally. But that's an overhaul of our system and the league, which I personally would welcome.

Robert Tressell
9 Posted 22/04/2021 at 22:05:07
Agree, Danny. A B team in a lower league is an option (as they do in Spain and Germany). Or a feeder club in, say, Scotland or Denmark would be the alternative. That's how Leipzig get talented young players ready for their first team. Learn the ropes in Salzburg and then move to Germany having proved yourself in a weaker league and European competition.

In the meantime it's loans and lots more of them. Whilst the loans haven't turned any sow's ears into silk purses, I can't recall they've ruined any top class prospects either (although repeatedly flipping between loans and U23s and back does not seem to work).

Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 22/04/2021 at 23:42:12
Michael #7, it's not the injury that bothers me -- teenagers heal quickly. It's the reason, whatever it is, that he fell out of the Rovers rotation after less than ten games.

The flip side is that Mowbray was highly complimentary of Jarrad in his farewell, predicting that he'd compete for a place in Carlo's side:

"He's got all the qualities. He reminds me of a young Gary Pallister, when Pally arrived at Middlesbrough in 1987, a young guy who everything is happening fast for them but has all the attributes. He has a wonderful feeling at his feet, passing the ball, he is very quick, he's six foot five, he just has to put all the bits together and we can all sit and watch his career develop. I'm sure it'll be a very positive career, and I hope he has a good summer and gets himself fit to compete to get in Everton's Premier League team."

Pallister is one helluva comparison. Assuming Mowbray's not just being nice (and that's not exactly his reputation, he's a tough old motherfucker), I'll take your odds and put my money on Branthwaite.

Si Cooper
11 Posted 22/04/2021 at 23:46:46
It's kind of crazy that we are expecting an 18-year-old central defender to be anywhere near first team ready. It's a measure of how advanced the lad is.

I know there are 19- and 20-year-old ones doing very well but, at that age, the step up with each birthday is often relatively large.

I agree with Michael that there are some very real risks with these loans, such as serious injury or having your self-image flattened due to all your faults being magnified because of the rapid uplift in the competitive level and quality of the opponents.

I understand why this lad was put on the fast-track. It's seems that the lack of back-up in his position has been addressed since then and it wouldn't phase me if he went back to a lower career trajectory once he has recuperated. I wouldn't worry about loaning him out again unless he seems to be stalling rather than steadily progressing 12-18 months from now.

I'd be more worried about setting him up for long-term injury problems than having him ready to become a first choice option within that time period. Even at his considerable height, he probably has a bit more growing to do and if so those joints will be a bit ‘soft' for a while yet.

Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 23/04/2021 at 09:49:14
Michael (4 and7), Michael, the lad was injured while playing in Everton’s first team early in the season in the league cup, injuries can happen anywhere at any time at any age, even on the training ground, as we well know. It’s frustrating when these injuries occur but life goes on, the only good thing, but not for the Branthwaite, is that he wouldn’t have played for Everton this season and he will have about five or six months to get over this injury and be ready for the start of next season.
Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 23/04/2021 at 13:07:16
It’s fair enough that you don’t like the loan system Michael, but I just have a feeling that Brands will look to get the younger players out on loan earlier, but only if they’re good enough obviously. If they’re not good enough, they will probably struggle at Everton, and even on loan, but others might find their level, and others might excel, probably meaning that they’ve got a chance of making it with Everton.

Look at lads who were good enough to win a World Cup, but were deemed not good enough by Everton. They’ve been kept at the club because nobody else would have paid them even half of what they’ve received from Everton, but have had stagnated careers because of this imo.

I just have a feeling that Brands will want to hurry up the learning process, and will be very surprised to see 21 year olds at Everton in the future, unless they’ve got a real chance of cementing a place in the team?

Jay Wood

14 Posted 23/04/2021 at 13:22:21
As Dave says, injuries can happen anywhere, anytime. Surely as Blues we are all too aware of that.

As for the pros and cons about loaning Jarrad out to Blackburn, read this glowing report about his last performance in a 2-1 win over Wayne Rooney's Derby just before getting injured in training.

Rovers' Young Centre Backs Come of Age

The boy's doing good. It's been a good loan. Playing at a good level in an extremely competitive league. Experiencing the ups and downs and learning the standards he needs to achieve to retain his place in the starting XI.

He and we will be better for it.

Jay Wood

15 Posted 23/04/2021 at 13:35:32
I also agree with you Tony about Brands revamping the Academy and clearing a path for the best talent to the first team.

You can see evidence of this right now. More 'senior' U-23s sent out on loan. U-16s and U17s promoted to the U-18s. U-18s promoted to the U-23s. The medium age of all teams falling accordingly. The U-18s dispensing with the two favourites away in consecutive rounds of the FA Youth Cup. Extremely young players with no PL experience (admitedly through circumstances) sitting on the bench for the first team.

The leap is to see some getting first team game time.

There are a handful of naysayers on TW about the Academy and the staff. This recent Echo article probably isn't for them.

The Hand of Brands

Alan J Thompson
16 Posted 23/04/2021 at 14:20:29
Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 23/04/2021 at 14:20:29
I remember Alan Ball saying they used to have regular games against the Youth team and he looked forward to them.

I can't see why the more promising youngsters couldn't train with the 1st team squad even on an intermittent basis and have these, say, monthly games at Finch Farm. It would at least let the Manager see what is in the youth ranks even while Mr Brands & Mr Unsworth bend his ear.

I can't see it would be any worse than this loan system and then all our football brains could have input into their improvement or areas that need improving.

At the moment, and I don't know how they are improving, or not, at their loan clubs is passed back to the parent club or is it a matter of hoping you can remember what level they were up to before they were loaned out.

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