Everton’s summer signing Ben Godfrey put together an impressive showcase with England’s Under 21s as Aidy Boothroyd’s Young Lions beat Turkey 2-1 in a UEFA European U21 Championship qualifier on Tuesday night.
Godfrey’s performance will serve as a timely message to Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti that he is ready to make his Blues debut against Liverpool in Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, with the Italian facing a defensive injury crisis.
The Goodison Park natives finalised a deal with Norwich City worth £20million for Godfrey to join Ancelotti’s unbeaten squad earlier this month, but the 22-year-old was not named in Everton’s team to face Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the October international break.
Ancelotti may be forced into handing Godfrey his Everton debut sooner than planned, as the centre-half is one option being considered to replace Seamus Coleman at right-back against Liverpool with Jonjoe Kenny also out injured.
Midfielder Tom Davies is also in line to deputise for Coleman having taken over at full-back at home to Brighton, and may be required after Yerry Mina sat out Colombia’s 2-2 draw with Chile on Tuesday night after the £120,000-per-week ace felt discomfort in his right thigh in training, meaning the new boy may be needed at centre-back.
Godfrey had featured three times for Norwich in their Championship campaign before departing Carrow Road in the transfer window, racking up 270 minutes of first-team football in which he averaged 67 touches, 46.3 accurate passes, 4.3 clearances, 1.0 tackles and 3.7 duels won a game, per SofaScore.
Godfrey’s performances with Norwich saw Boothroyd name the York-born defender in his England U21s squad to face Turkey on Tuesday night, handing him his sixth Young Lions cap.
Norwich boss Daniel Farke expects Godfrey to go on and achieve more with the senior England set-up, having told reporters at the start of the month via quotes by The Pink Un: “He has all the potential to lead the Three Lions in the future.”
Godfrey impressed with a solid showcase against Turkey despite allowing Halil Dervisoglu to pull a goal back for Tolunay Kafkas’ visitors in second-half stoppage-time, four minutes after Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah had doubled England’s advantage to become the Young Lions’ record scorer.
The Toffees talent kept things simple as he amassed 78 touches of the ball and rarely turned over possession with 67 of his 71 passes finding a teammate. He further denied Kafkas’ visitors with one clearance, one block, one interception and three tackles, and won three of four ground duels, per SofaScore.
Everton’s late summer capture did not attempt a single aerial duel and committed one foul, though, but should be at the front of Ancelotti’s thinking as the Italian plans his way around a defensive injury crisis.