'He will play for England' - Former City defender tips Godfrey for the top

Everton's Ben Godfrey during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Wednesday

Former Norwich City defender Michael Turner has tipped Ben Godfrey to play for England. - Credit: PA

Ben Godfrey will play for England one day. 

That is the verdict of former Norwich City defender Michael Turner, who believes the disciplined nature of the 23-year-old will help reach the very top of the game. 

Godfrey has impressed since joining Goodison Park last summer in a deal that could reach £30million. Turner, who played alongside the tough-tackling defender for the Canaries' U23 side, isn't surprised to see him develop into a Premier League player.

“Alex Neil had become manager and didn’t really fancy me straight away so I was training and playing with the under-23s regularly. That’s when I first came across Ben and played alongside him. My first impression was his body shape and power.

“The way he carried himself on the pitch marked him out considering his age. You took notice.

“Our partnership just worked straight away,” Turner told the Athletic. “I’d seen him play centre-midfield so I knew he was good on the ball. It’s always a good sign when a centre-back can do that.

“He has come on leaps and bounds since and I do watch him for Everton when I can. His technical ability was good at Norwich but there was room for improvement and he’s doing that. The emphasis today is on defenders who can play and that’s always suited him."

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Godfrey has earned plenty of plaudits this season, with his combative style adhering him to Everton supporters. He featured at the European Championships for England U21s last month, but is yet to break into Gareth Southgate's squad. 

Turner believes his determination and relentless pursuit of perfection will help him reach the very top, with international football the next step for the former Canaries star.

Michael Turner of Norwich City during the 120 minute pre-season warm-up match between Peterborough U

Michael Turner played alongside Godfrey for City's U23s.

“In training, he’d boot players up in the air for fun and not bat an eyelid. He did not give a monkeys.

"Most players take training seriously but have a bit of a laugh at the same time. Ben was just 100 per cent focused on doing things right and not letting anyone get away with anything.

“I think you could tell he’d come from a disciplined background. He’d always ask me questions and was willing to learn. It was no coincidence that he was strong. He was in the gym every day after official sessions. He was only 18 and he’d be asking the sports scientists what more he could do.

“I believe he will play for England one day. He has all the attributes to play for his country at senior level and if the Euros are too soon for him then he will eventually.”

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