Godfrey reveals 'surreal' chat with Southgate after England call
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Ben Godfrey has reflected on the ‘surreal’ chat with Gareth Southgate that triggered his surprise England selection.
The 23-year-old centre back has gone from a prospect at Norwich City to a shot at featuring in this summer’s Euros following a superb debut season at Everton, after his club record Carrow Road move.
The former Canaries’ youngster revealed Southgate made a personal phone call to break the news earlier this week.
Godfrey was included in a provisional 30-man party that will be trimmed to 26 before the June tournament.
"It was a surreal moment and I was straight on the phone to my mum and dad to share the news," he said. "It means so much to me and my family and is a reward for all of the hard work we've put in.
"Playing for England is something you dream about from a very young age and to be part of the squad means a lot.
“I was playing for England Under-21s not long ago but things happen quickly in football - both good and bad - and for me to get the progression into the senior squad shows there is a pathway for younger players to make the step up.
“The manager spoke about my versatility and I think being able to play across the backline for Everton during the season helped show that. It’s been a positive season for me. I’ve joined a massive club like Everton and been able to play a lot of games, and now I’ve got an England call-up. It’s a dream come true.”
Godfrey joins up with the Three Lions this weekend in Middlesbrough at the start of their final preparations.
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His former club stand to cash in if the centre back makes the final cut this summer and starts a competitive game for England at the tournament.
But Southgate has already hinted the likes of Godfrey, and fellow Brighton new boy Ben White, are ones for the future, but the centre back is keen to push his claims.
"I know the manager is going to announce his final squad of 26 next week but that decision is not up to me,” he said, speaking to Everton’s official site.
"My focus now is to do what I always do - stay focused and work hard - and we'll see what happens.
“There is a lot of competition to play for England as well so it's about showing your quality over a long period of time.
“When you look at the quality of defenders we've got, and the players who didn't make the squad, I know it is an achievement to have made the provisional squad, and now I just want to work hard and see what comes.”
After Southgate names his final 26-man squad England will meet Austria and Romania in friendlies at Championship club Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on June 2 and June 6, respectively.
England kick off their tournament against 2018 World Cup semi-final opponents Croatia on June 13 at Wembley and return to the national stadium on June 18 to face Scotland.
England finish their Group D campaign against Czech Republic, also at Wembley, on June 22.