Chris Sutton critical of Euro 2024 mistake regarding Everton star

Chris Sutton critical of Euro 2024 mistake regarding Everton star

Chris Sutton believes Gareth Southgate has made a mistake not taking Jarrad Branthwaite to the European Championships. 

Despite making his senior international debut in the Three Lions’ 3-0 pre-tournament friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Everton centre-back didn’t make Southgate’s final squad that will head to Germany.

That means England will go into Euro 2024 without a left-footed centre-back, while their only left-footed defender, Luke Shaw, is still struggling with a hamstring problem.

“I think it is a bit early for Jarrad. He has had a fabulous season and it was good to get him on the other night,” Southgate said of his decision to omit Branthwaite from the squad (via BBC Sport).

“Of course, in an ideal world, you would like lots of left-footers. But, to put him ahead of the others, I don’t think that would have been the right call at this stage.

“That is why we have taken what I think is a risk at left-back with Luke [Shaw], but I think that is a risk worth taking.”

Speaking to Radio 5 Live (via Everton.news), Sutton said: “The one where I really feel Gareth has got wrong is Branthwaite based on this season’s performances for Everton.”

Was Southgate wrong to leave Branthwaite out of Euro 2024 squad?

Branthwaite is set to be the subject of one of the transfer sagas of the summer, with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United linked with his signature but Everton keen to keep him.

And for good reason.

Following a successful loan with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in 2022/23, Branthwaite returned to Goodison Park and slotted seamlessly into the Premier League.

The 21-year-old started 35 Premier League matches spanning 3,117 minutes to help Everton finish 15th in the table and 14 points clear of the relegation zone, despite suffering an eight-point deduction.

Sean Dyche’s men conceded just 51 league goals in 2023/24, with only the top three boasting better records, while only Arsenal (18) kept more clean sheets (13).

Branthwaite was a key component in that rearguard effort as one of just three Premier League defenders to contest 250 duels in 2023/24 and win 65% or more of them, alongside Virgil van Dijk and Cristian Romero.

Branthwaite featured among the Premier League’s top 10 defenders in a number of key metrics, including interceptions, clearances, headed clearances, aerial duels won and possessions won in the middle third.

What’s more, the former Carlisle man weighed in with three goals — including in Everton’s 2-0 Merseyside derby win over Liverpool — with only three teammates managing more.

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