When Michael Keane started the season in torrid form for Everton, many supporters may have been lusting after the return of a certain Ben Godfrey.
The former had been handed an early chance by Rafa Benitez to impress, but after being rolled too easily by Patrick Bamford against Leeds and then letting his marker go for Huddersfield’s goal in the Carabao Cup, it didn’t bode well.
Keane did impress as the Toffees beat Brighton and then he scored last weekend against Burnley, yet there was still a feeling that in order for this Everton defence to reach its maximum potential, Godfrey needed to be part of it.
The centre-back started for the first time under Benitez in the win over Burnley, but against Aston Villa on Saturday evening, he was quite mediocre.
Godfrey played at right-back ahead of Seamus Coleman, who was suffering from a hamstring problem during the week.
Sadly, the 23-year-old didn’t play particularly well in that position. Arguably, he was even worse than Lucas Digne, the scorer of an own goal during their dismal 3-0 defeat.
The Frenchman at least provided a big opportunity for one of his teammates to score, while he also managed three tackles, but Godfrey couldn’t usurp that. He supplied an early chance for Salomon Rondon to score at the near post but that was about as good as his evening got.
His defensive efforts were particularly poor as Leon Bailey ran him ragged after he was substituted on late in the game by Dean Smith. The Everton defender was caught wildly out of position for the third and final goal, scored by Villa’s rampant Jamaican.
Instead of marshalling the right-hand side, Godfrey had been dragged to the left of the centre circle, which allowed Bailey to exploit what felt like several acres of space on Everton’s right flank.
The England international couldn’t react quickly enough and consequently Villa sealed the victory.
On this evidence, Benitez is better off playing Godfrey at centre-back.