'Football is a dog eat dog world' - Godfrey on his debt to the Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Ben Godfrey will never forget the role Norwich City played in a career which is scaling new heights at Everton since his club record move from the Canaries.
Godfrey has been a revelation under Carlo Ancelotti, with the Toffees in the hunt for a top-six finish in the Premier League and preparing for an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City.
Daniel Farke converted the 23-year-old into a centre back after he returned from a spell on loan at Shrewsbury. Godfrey cites a 3-2 Championship win over Bolton in December 2018 as the moment when his life changed.
The England Under-21 international replaced Timm Klose, who was injured in the warm-up, and retained his place alongside Christoph Zimmermann for the rest of that title-winning campaign.
“I trusted his opinion and can’t argue with it so far,” said Godfrey. “He mentioned my pace and being aggressive and playing out from the back. People were telling me to be patient when I wasn’t playing – it’s easier said than done, that.
“It is so hard when you’re not expecting to play but you have to keep grafting to be ready for your chance.
“When my opportunity came, I grabbed it and never looked back. I didn’t break through and relaxed. Football is a dog-eat-dog industry, someone always wants to take your place.
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“I didn’t want to sit on the bench again, I knew how it felt. I carried on working and made sure I stayed in that team.”
Godfrey, speaking to Everton’s matchday programme, revealed why he originally opted to join Norwich on his 18th birthday from York, after rejecting clubs closer to home.
“Norwich was the right club for me,” he said. “Going three-and-a-half hours from home at such a vital time in my career was a bit of a blessing.
“I was at an age where you can get caught up going out with friends. I wanted to go down there and be absolutely football focused, at a great club, to maximise my development.
“I had to learn to cook and do all the adult stuff pretty quickly, with my mum not around, so it benefits you in the long run.
“My sister had just been born and she is a massive inspiration for me. I want to do well to help her. I have had to make so many sacrifices – and it is the same for most players.
“I have missed every one of my sister’s birthdays – and had only one Christmas with her.
“But it is part of football and I am very fortunate this is my job.”