Everton coach David Unsworth has described Cumbrian defender Jarrad Branthwaite as "outstanding" after he dropped down from the first-team scene to play for the Under-23s.

The former Carlisle United prospect impressed as Everton U23s beat Brighton 2-1 this week.

Branthwaite, 19, played the first half of the game as he got useful minutes under his belt.

He joined fellow first-team squad member Ellis Simms in the young Toffees' line-up.

Unsworth hailed the duo when speaking on Everton's website.

He said: “They were outstanding.

“It’s not just their performances, but their attitude to stepping down to the Under-23s. 

“They’re now first-team players, which is brilliant. They’ve had their time with us and they’ve been a pleasure to work with. 

“Their attitude was outstanding and that’s all you can ask when the first-team boys step down. All credit to them.”

Unsworth's comments confirm that Branthwaite, from Wigton, is very much part of the first-team squad under Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park.

He remains a highly-rated player at the Premier League club and has been on the first-team bench in recent Premier League games.

England Under-20 international Branthwaite joined Everton from Carlisle in January 2020 and has made six first-team appearances.

He also spent time on loan at Blackburn last season.