Everton boss Frank Lampard has issued a concerning update regarding the fitness of defender Ben Godfrey, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea…
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of his former club, the 43-year-old revealed that the young centre-back will once again be absent at Goodison Park, with doubts raised as to whether the former Norwich City man will be able to return to action before the end of the season.
Asked about potential injury concerns for the clash with Thomas Tuchel’s side, Lampard confirmed the 24-year-old’s absence and insisted he faces a race against time to feature again this term: “Ben [Godfrey] is out and will be a few weeks out. We would love to get him back towards the end of the season but it will be a close call.”
Although the Toffees boss did also confirm that Yerry Mina is now fit again for selection, news that teammate Godfrey could well miss the remainder of the campaign is a bitter pill to swallow for the club’s supporters, particularly as they head into a decisive period in the run-in.
The Merseysiders are currently five points adrift of safety, albeit with two games in hand on fellow strugglers Leeds United and Burnley, with the Turf Moor outfit having enjoyed something of a bounce effect following the sacking of Sean Dyche a few weeks ago.
Three wins and a draw from their last four Premier League games has rejuvenated the Clarets under caretaker boss Mike Jackson, with Everton now facing a real fight to try and stay in contention with just six games left of the season to play.
Perennial yo-yo side Norwich City have, perhaps inevitably, already been confirmed as the season’s first casualty – ensuring a fourth successive relegation from the top-flight – while Roy Hodgson’s Watford side are teetering towards the brink, with a rapid return to the second tier on the horizon.
Lampard’s men could well join those two ill-fated clubs in the Championship next season, with a first relegation since 1951 a very distinct possibility.
The absence then of that man Godfrey – who joined the club on a £20m deal back in October 2020 – will only further harm their hopes of survival, with the 6-foot defender having proved a real asset in recent years, not least for his versatility.
Former boss Carlo Ancelotti was a notable keen admirer of the Englishman, previously insisting that: “He’s powerful, he has a lot of energy, tactically intelligent, really aggressive in the duels and so he can play in different positions and this is really important”.
In a miserable campaign for the club, the £68k-per-week colossus has performed well on a personal level, averaging two tackles and four clearances per game in his 23 league outings, while also winning a solid 64% of his ground duels.
As they approach what appears set to be a real scrap to ensure their top tier status in the coming weeks, not having the two-cap international in tow could prove costly.