Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

England manager Gareth Southgate has discussed a first call-up for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Kalvin Phillips’ omission from the latest squad.

Branthwaite has been included in the squad to face Brazil and Belgium this month after impressing during a breakthrough season at Everton.

The 21-year-old – who featured only sporadically as England’s u-21 side won the European Championship last summer – has broken into Sean Dyche’s side to make 25 league appearances this season.

Southgate has been keeping a keen eye on Branthwaite’s development and says the defender is in the squad on merit this month.

“He’s played consistently well,” Southgate said at a press conference.

“His development, we watched him as a back-up centre half for the under-21s. If you said a year ago he would consistently play in the Premier League, I would’ve been surprised.

“Credit to Sean Dyche. He’s in on merit, he’s left-footed and we’re looking forward to having a look at him.”

Southgate also spoke on his decision to omit Kalvin Phillips, who has been a regular in recent squads despite struggling for favour at club level. The midfielder signed for West Ham on loan in January but has struggled to make an impact, with Southgate admitting his lack of form has prevented inclusion.

“I think he knows exactly what we think of him, a good version of him is an important player for us. We don’t have many players of that profile.

“Unfortunately, his form just hasn’t been good enough. I’ve spoken to him, he knows that. I said to him towards the end of last year, if he didn’t platy at City, it was going to be a problem.”

Read – Gareth Southgate names England squad for March internationals

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