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Ben Godfrey: Everton defender an injury concern for Crystal Palace clash

Carlo Ancelotti will be anxiously awaiting the return of Ben Godfrey from international duty after the Everton defender failed a late fitness test.

That’s according to the Liverpool Echo, who note that Godfrey and Tom Davies were both unable to represent England’s Under 21s against Croatia on Wednesday.

The Young Lions medical team carried out late checks to see if either of the Toffees duo could feature in the Euro 2021 win, which dumped Aidy Boothroyd’s side out of the competition at the Group Stage.

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Godfrey had played the full 90 minutes as England faced Portugal on Sunday to earn his ninth U21s cap, but required treatment during the 2-0 loss.

The 23-year-old centre-back had featured for the full fixture as England were beaten 1-0 by Switzerland last Thursday, too.

Only Tottenham Hotspur’s Oliver Skipp and Swansea City’s Marc Guehi also played all 180 available minutes among England’s outfield options over the defeats to Switzerland and Portugal.

Davies had started each loss but was withdrawn early in the second half against Switzerland and approaching the final quarter of an hour against Portugal, when earning his 23rd Young Lions cap.

Ancelotti will now be very concerned over the prospect of being without Godfrey and Davies when Everton host Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Monday, looking to end a three-game losing streak across all competitions.

The Toffees have only won one of their last five games at home thanks to a 1-0 result over Southampton on March 1, while losing to Fulham, Burnley and Manchester City twice.

Ancelotti goes into the Eagles clash without star summer signing Abdoulaye Doucoure after the £20m former Watford midfielder was ruled out likely for the remainder of the season with a fractured foot.

Fabian Delph has also been sidelined of late and while Jean-Philippe Gbamin has returned to training, it remains to be seen if the 25-year-old will be called on to play his first game since August 2019.

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Losing Godfrey will come as a huge blow to the Toffees in defence, having started nine of the Merseyside outfit’s last 10 fixtures in the heart of the backline – including eight of the last nine Premier League matches prior to the international break.

Everton have kept three clean sheets in the 11 top-flight matches that Ancelotti has fielded Godfrey in a centre-back role this season, which came in a three-game run against Liverpool, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion.

To now be without the former Norwich City enforcer will be particularly problematic for Ancelotti, who is said to consider the Toffees’ £20m summer signing as the best of his central defensive options.

Ancelotti will be expected to call on Michael Keane, Mason Holgate or Yerry Mina to protect Jordan Pickford’s goal against Crystal Palace, should Godfrey fail another fitness test.

AND in other news, Everton are tracking a £17m striker with “a wealth of talent”

Article title: Ben Godfrey: Everton defender an injury concern for Crystal Palace clash

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