‘It gives enormous confidence that someone like Brands believes in you’
Follows PSV on behalf of NOS Sport
Follows PSV on behalf of NOS Sport
‘Long Gerrit’ Branthwaite draws strength from tattoos and thanks Brands at PSV
From substitute with occasional playing minutes, to being in the starting lineup every game. 20-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite temporarily swapped Everton for PSV early this season and has since surprised friend and foe as a regular.
“It’s already snowed twice since I’ve been here. It just doesn’t stop…,” commented the tall English central defender earlier this week, now in and dry. It seems to be a true winter wonderland at De Herdgang sports complex, where players and staff ended up in a real snowball fight.
In terms of weather, the differences between Eindhoven and English Carlisle – where Branthwaite is from – are normally little different. Still, he had to acclimate the first few months at PSV.
“I’m used to some things, but in another country it’s completely different again. In a new environment, with a new language. Then you try to find a click with your teammates. It was difficult in the beginning, but I am now settled and Eindhoven is a wonderful city.”
Influence of Marcel Brands
It is not Branthwaite’s first switch. The man of now many nicknames, such as Long Gerrit and Fire Department, left his first club, Carlisle, for Liverpool when he was seventeen: from the League 2, then Everton director Marcel Brands brought him to the Premier League.
“That was a big step and from there I built a good relationship with him. After I came to PSV, that bond only grew. It gives you a lot of confidence as a young player, that someone like that believes in you.”
Snowball fight and glum Simons: PSV trains under white blanket
Before Branthwaite came to Holland on a rental basis, he received messages from Brands through his agent. “He sent that he would like to have me here. PSV is a huge club and played in the Champions League and Europa League back then. I find it hard to say if I would have played here without Brands. In any case, he had a lot of influence on my arrival.”
Delivering and working hard
And meanwhile, trainer Ruud van Nistelrooij has also become convinced of his qualities. For example, it is impossible to imagine the Brabanders’ defense without him and he also scored three goals in February.
“I play a lot of games in a row here, so for now the focus for me is to continue that until the end of the season,” Branthwaite said.
“When you deliver, you also get the confidence of the coach. If you keep doing that, he also has no reason to make another choice in that spot.”
Branthwaite makes no secret of the fact that it’s hard work; he’s always done it that way. “At Carlisle I did that. At Everton I trained extremely hard every day. And here too, hard work gets you somewhere.”
Future as an Evertonian?
Whereas PSV is still competing for several prizes, the situation at Everton is completely different. The club, where he is under contract until 2025, is eighteenth in the Premier League and fighting against relegation. A greater contrast is almost impossible to imagine.
“That’s good for a young player to experience. Here the pressure to win is so high. We still have a chance to win the cup and in the league everything is still possible as well.”
Branthwaite is paying close attention to what is happening in northwest England on the Mersey River and believes in a good outcome. “It’s all so close there. If you manage to knit a few good results together, you’ll soon find yourself in a better position. Fingers crossed That they climb out of the relegation zone.”
He also spoke to Sean Dyche, who was appointed as the new Everton manager in late January. “That was just after he signed with the club. He especially wanted to introduce himself and asked me about how I’m doing and what it’s like here at PSV. It was a personal conversation, which I really appreciate.”
Whether his time at PSV will continue after this season remains to be seen, although he says he is enjoying himself. “I’m open to something in Eindhoven. But I’m under contract at Everton, which is also a fantastic club. I’ll go back there after this season first and what my decision will be, we’ll see then.”