Jarrad Branthwaite’s Carlisle United displays have made him a target for Celtic and Rangers.

Reported Celtic and Rangers target Jarrad Branthwaite has been compared to Michael Carrick and Declan Rice by Carlisle United manager Chris Beech, speaking to the News and Star, as speculation continues to swirl about the youngster’s short-term future.

A teenage centre-back who only made his first-team debut in October is already emerging as one of the most coveted players in British football.

The News and Star report that Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers sent scouts to watch £1 million Branthwaite star during Carlisle’s 1-1 draw with Morecambe on Sunday, as did Leicester City and Arsenal.

A confident and classy ball-playing centre-half, Branthwaite shone in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role at the Globe Arena before returning to his natural position during a 1-0 win against Forest Green in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

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And Beech has drawn rather ambitious comparisons with the £100 million-rated Rice, who looks a cut above regardless of whether he is playing in defence or midfield for West Ham United, not to mention Manchester United great Carrick.

“Branthwaite was brilliant. He obviously enjoyed playing in his natural position in terms of how he’s developed,” Beech said.

“I had massive information on the way he played for Carlisle in the FA Youth Cup at Fleetwood [last season]. I’m a Fleetwood man, and he was excellent as a midfield player, and has the skill sets to play both roles.

“I look at people like Declan Rice, and Michael Carrick, who’ve played a little bit of both. Jarrad has the capabilities of doing both.”

Interestingly, the Northern Echo reports that Newcastle United have a major advantage over all of Branthwaite’s other suitors, and there’s plenty of them.

The Magpies struck an agreement with Carlisle while sending young striker Elias Sorensen to Brunton Park on loan over the summer, giving them the first refusal over the Cumbrian’s prized asset.

In other news, Report: 28-year-old could now join Arsenal after leaving Spurs, Arteta aware of situation