Sean Dyche must give Jarrad Branthwaite a chance in the Everton starting XI after this weekend’s embarrassment.

Everton were battered 4-0 by Aston Villa on Saturday. The result could have been even worse for the Toffees, but for a couple of Jordan Pickford saves, and the fact that Aston Villa didn’t need to keep pushing for more goals.

None of the Everton players were able to impress. 38-year-old Ashley Young struggled badly, whilst Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana were anonymous in midfield. However, centre-back Michael Keane was probably the worst of the bunch.

The 30-year-old turned in a woeful performance alongside James Tarkowski, and serious questions need to be asked about Sean Dyche’s defensive selections.

Stoke City v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Branthwaite waiting in the wings

In Jarrad Branthwaite, Everton have one of English football’s most exciting young defensive talents. The 21-year-old was snapped up from Carlisle United in 2020, and made four Premier League appearances for Everton that season.

In total, Branthwaite has represented the Merseyside outfit on 13 occasions in all competitions since his arrival at Goodison Park. These outings came either side of a loan spell with Blackburn Rovers.

The 6’5” defender enjoyed a breakout campaign whilst on loan with PSV Eindhoven last season. Branthwaite quickly established himself as a star for the Dutch club, making 27 Eredivisie appearances, and winning the KNVB Cup in his time in the Netherlands.

Branthwaite got his hands on more silverware this summer as a member of the England team that triumphed at the under-21 European Championship.

The youngster now looks ready for a real run in the Everton team, and with Keane in such poor form, now is the perfect time for Dyche to switch up his starting line-up.

Dyche clearly has a lot of faith in Keane, and a long-standing relationship going back to the time they shared at Burnley, but for the good of Everton’s season he needs to bite the bullet and give Branthwaite his chance to shine.

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