'See why' - Shay Given suggests a 'lot of clubs' will be hoping to sign Everton star
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After narrowly avoiding relegation in the past two seasons, the Toffees have shown signs of late that another dogfight can be avoided. Sean Dyche's side delivered a 1-0 win at West Ham United on Sunday, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin notching the only goal in the 51st minute. The triumph moved Everton five points clear of the drop zone, with Tarkowski and Branthwaite catching the eye at the London Stadium.
The former is a fully-fledged Premier League performer, while Branthwaite is thriving during his breakthrough campaign at Goodison Park. The 21-year-old intelligently pilfered Hammers forward Michail Antonio of the ball, which launched the attack for Calvert-Lewin's breakthrough. And Given, speaking on Match of the Day 2, extolled the defensive duo.
The former Newcastle goalkeeper said: "They'll need to keep these two fit, Branthwaite and Tarkowski, the captain and leader at the back. We start with James Tarkowski, he's the captain and is the perfect guy for Brathwaite to play alongside.
"Branthwaite is young, he's quick, 21, and left-footed which is refreshing - a lot of teams are looking for a left-sided centre-half and this guy ticks all the boxes. Can he play out from the back? Of course, he can play out through the lines and play in the right areas at the right times.
"We talk about Calvert-Lewin a lot and keeping him fit but these two were solid at the back and it wasn't a classic game, by no means. It was a bit old-school but I like defenders who celebrate defending.
"The goal, he's up against one of the strongest centre-forwards in the league in Antonio and is not scared to go and win that physical battle. I'm really happy with those two centre-backs and gives them a platform."
Branthwaite had a highly fruitful spell on loan at PSV Eindhoven last season while he helped England under-21s claim European Championships glory in the summer. The ex-Carlisle youngster has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in the past and Given believes Brantwaite will continue to attract potential suitors.
Given added: "Left-footed is a big thing because a lot of clubs are looking at it. With Liverpool recently, Everton fans won't be happy with me saying that, but a couple of other clubs looked at him. He's got a big future, just signed a new contract at Everton and they like him and you could see why."