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INTERVIEW: He just shrugs his shoulders at most things

Chris Beech on Jarrad Branthwaite

14 January 2020

With the transfer of teenage defender Jarrad Branthwaite to Everton now confirmed, head coach Chris Beech spoke about the developing situation at his Monday afternoon press conference.

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“To keep you informed, from a supporters’ perspective, there were two bids from Premier League clubs over the weekend for Jarrad,” he confirmed. “That all goes into David’s hands, but I was told about the bids so that it kept me in the loop.

“There’s no hiding from the fact that he has actually been ill, twice on antibiotics, and he did pull his thigh, so he’s not been available. He hadn’t downed tools, or anything like that.

“It has been difficult for him and I’ve often spoken to Jarrad about these things. I told him that he to try to ignore it all and keep mentally calm. It’s hard for him, he’s 17, and he’s had you guys talking about him every day, it’s Newcastle, Sunderland, Everton, Manchester United ... who else have we had, Arsenal, Southampton, Brighton, Watford.

“A lot of clubs have been mentioned and it’s hard to listen to for him, and meet me as a new manager, saying what’s the chat about, let me see it. It was frustrating for me because of the injury and illness which meant I couldn’t play him as much as I’d have liked to.

“Originally, he had about a week off, got on antibiotics, played again, came back, he’s got to deal with all the noise that’s been going on, the stress and strains of playing a lot of football matches in quick succession.

“He pulled his thigh just before the Walsall game and missed the games we played after that. It’s a shame for me, it would have been great to have him playing all the time.”

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On how good he thinks the young central defender can be, he commented: “The good thing about him is that he just shrugs his shoulders a most things, whatever - that’s what all 17-year-olds do, isn’t it”

“That’s probably one of his attributes as a football player, his composure. He doesn’t get flustered. I know Paul Simpson came to watch him play against Cambridge, I was at the same game, it was probably one of his worst games he’s had for Carlisle.

“I spoke to the England set-up, they rang me pre-Crewe because they were going to come and watch him play in that game. They asked me the same question, what do you think Chris – we had, at Rochdale, Luke Matheson and Dan Adshead getting in the England fold. Jarrad, 100 per cent, should be involved with England.

“He didn’t actually play in that game, but Ian Foster, who I know well, was going to come and watch him. I’ve told them what I think, they respect my view and let’s hopefully see him go on to become an international.

“I think in terms of his potential, in 15 or 16 years of coaching, not just because of me, but as a youth team developer and working with first team for six years prior to coming here, 18 players have been recruited, developed and sold.

“Jarrad is a stand-out candidate in those I’ve personally recruited/developed/sold, or we’ve picked up. I’ve got players, Mendez-Laing who couldn’t play against us for Cardiff, Dale Stephens plays Premier League football for Brighton, Scott Hogan came in - Jarrad’s potentially at 17 better than Dale Stephens.

“But he’s got his life, you don’t know what’s around the corner. He has to go and prove himself in another environment now, and he certainly has the attributes to do that.”


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