Everton’s Vitalii Mykolenko has named Jarrad Branthwaite among his top two defenders in the league, pairing him with Bournemouth’s Illia Zabarnyi.

The left-back has been speaking to the media in his native Ukraine, where he’s been keen to praise the rising star of Goodison Park.

Branthwaite has established himself in the Everton first team this season after returning from a highly successful loan spell at PSV Eindhoven last season.

That year under Ruud van Nistelrooy was his first season of senior football and saw him return to Merseyside with a determination to make himself a Premier League footballer.

That’s something he’s more than achieved, developing a relationship with James Tarkowski in the centre of Everton’s defence that is, statistically, one of the best in the division outside of the top four.

It’s seen Branthwaite earn himself a growing reputation and consistent praise throughout this campaign, with many predicting that he could be set for a huge move in the summer transfer window to boot.

Mykolenko, who plays alongside him on the left-hand side of Everton’s defence so knows him well, is certainly a fan, and even has him among the best alongside his international teammate Illia Zabarnyi, who plays for Bournemouth.

“If you put our Branthwaite and Zabarnyi in a pair, they can be signed for 15 years without transfers to the club,” he said.

“One is left central, the second is right – there is speed, there is everything. Either one or the other is very calm.

“From the moment he debuted, Zaba is probably the best player we have in Ukraine. He’s so calm. He is 21 years old; he has played almost 40 matches in the national team – this already shows his class.

“And everything was at a stable level, there was no such thing that it sagged somewhere. He is always at such a level as if he is 35 years old and already experienced.

“I’m delighted with our central defender. He has already scored 3 this season. These are the top two for me.”

Maybe Everton could take a look.