Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite has admitted that he can’t help but “take notice” of reported interest from Manchester United and Liverpool.
Branthwaite is spending the season on loan with Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven.
The 20-year-old has played 28 matches across all competitions this season, with his performances attracting interest from the aforementioned Premier League giants.
It is unclear what Everton manager Sean Dyche will want to do with the young defender when he returns to Goodison Park having taken over midway through the season.
Former Toffees striker Kevin Campbell reckons Dyche will look at Branthwaite in pre-season, but insists “you can never have enough good, young centre-backs”.
“It all depends on what the manager wants to do. Sean Dyche hasn’t seen him play,” Campbell told Goodison News.
“He hasn’t worked with him so Sean Dyche might say to himself, ‘I want to see what he’s like in pre-season’.
“You can never have enough good, young centre-backs.
“So with a player like that, I think there’s a few at the back there whose contracts are up as well.
“It might just be, ‘You’re coming back. You’re going to be a squad player and [when] you get your chance you play’.
“I’m sure Ruud van Nistelrooy would like to keep him but luckily he’s an Everton player and Sean Dyche will have the final say on that.”
It was reported last month that Serie A side AS Roma are also interested in signing Branthwaite – who is under contract at Everton until 2025.
A move to Liverpool or United, however, would be a spectacular move for the 20-year-old, though it is unclear whether or not he would move to the Toffees’ arch-rivals.
Speaking to the Mirror, Branthwaite admitted that he is aware of interest in him.
“I think when all of those clubs are interested and watching your games, it’s gonna be one of them where you take notice,” he said.
“But for me it’s just about playing the games. The first half of the season, I wasn’t playing as many as I wanted, but now I’m just fully focussed on doing that and performing the best I can.”
Branthwaite was teammates with Liverpool winter signing Cody Gakpo between June and January and has labeled the Dutch forward “unbelievable”.
“I spoke to Cody a few times when he first signed [for Liverpool],” he added.
“When I signed for Everton I was in the Titanic Hotel and I think he was staying there as well, so he was asking for a few places to go eat and things.
“He’s settled into a massive club but it’s no surprise for me.
“When he was here, the quality he had was unbelievable; his goals and assists, his passing, his dribbling — he had everything.
“Obviously it’s going to take a couple of months to find your feet but over the last month he’s settled right in and played really well.”
Should Branthwaite remain an Everton player beyond the summer, he expects to thrive in Dyche’s system.
“I hope so because I’ve been there three years now and I’ve had numerous managers, so for a young player it’s hard to settle,” Branthwaite said.
“When a different manager comes in, you’ve got to try and impress, and when you’re a young player it’s not easy to get in the team.
“Obviously they’re gonna pick the experienced players over you and that sort of thing. It’s definitely something I’m hoping for, a bit of stability which will help not just me but also help other young players. And it’ll help the team as well if we’ve got a manager which we know.
“You can see he’s getting the results at home and he’s had a decent few results away, so hopefully he brings us up the table. I’m looking forward to finishing the season here, playing the games and then seeing what happens and so on.”
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