Godfrey Reveals Ancelotti Message Before First Everton Start

Ben Godfrey says Everton will “reach for the stars” under Carlo Ancelotti – but the Club’s Italian manager is delivering daily reminders of the focus required to sustain a challenge at the Premier League summit.

Defender Godfrey made his Everton debut as a substitute in last weekend’s drawn Merseyside derby following a transfer-deadline-day move from Norwich City.

Everton visit Southampton on Sunday aiming for a sixth unbeaten Premier League match this term.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Friday that Godfrey will fill the right-back position he occupied after coming on against Liverpool following an injury to Seamus Coleman, who consequently misses this weekend’s fixture. Jonjoe Kenny, meanwhile, is back training after an ankle problem but is not yet ready to play again.

Godfrey will travel to the south coast following his first full week’s training with the Club after linking up with his new teammates only days before his bow.

“You have to have that mindset of reaching for the stars – but… it doesn’t happen magically,” said Godfrey.

“You have to work hard every day and earn that right – and that is instilled in us every day.

“[The manager’s message is] ‘By all means enjoy doing well but it is not going to be easy [to sustain]'.

“You have to consistently work hard and grind out results.

“There is a great feeling around the place.

“But when it is work time, it is work time.

“It is not all laughing and joking.

“To stay at the top of the league, you have to work hard.”


Godfrey’s career trajectory has plotted an upwards path since the player's first senior appearance for York City in League 2 as a 17-year-old in August 2015.

He quickly moved to Norwich and following a successful loan in League One with Shrewsbury Town in 2017/18 – when the Shropshire club were play-off finalists – returned to Carrow Road for a substantial role in Norwich’s 2018/19 Championship title-winning campaign.

Even starting out with York, Godfrey maintains his goal was to play Premier League football.

His first top-flight experience finished with Norwich’s relegation last term.

But the player insists that campaign qualified as an invaluable learning experience – and the opportunity to maintain his  curve with Everton was irresistible.

“I have been really fortunate that football has been an upwards journey so far,” said Godfrey.

“Football is not always like that and I am really appreciative of my journey.

“I am really enjoying it and trying to learn every day.

“It has been great, from York City, to going on loan, then being promoted with Norwich.

“Even the relegation season, I learned so much, I look back on it and it benefits me.

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02:05

GOALS AGAINST... SOUTHAMPTON

Which is your favourite of these Everton strikes against the Saints?


“As a young player, it has to be your aim to play in the Premier League.

"If you can’t imagine yourself at the top, you are doing something wrong.

“It is not always an easy journey and might not seem possible

“But I always believed, if I worked hard enough, I’d give myself the best chance possible.

“As soon as I heard about Everton being interested, it was massive for me.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and it is an absolute honour to play for this club."

Godfrey admits there was “no better occasion” than a Merseyside derby for his first Everton outing.

The teams were level at 1-1 when Godfrey replaced Republic of Ireland international Coleman.

And the England Under-21 player insists Everton retained their belief after falling behind a second time before levelling through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 10th Club goal this season.

“Dom works unbelievably hard, he will stay out after training and practice bits he thinks he needs to develop,” said Godfrey, who twice encountered Calvert-Lewin when playing for Norwich last season.

“He absolutely deserves the form he is in now.

“He has all sorts of attributes: he is quick, he can leap and he can finish.

“He is young and willing to learn and it is great to be playing with him.

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06:29

RASO V SORENSEN IN INTERNATIONAL DUEL

Everton duo go head-to-head to prove who knows more about each other's respective countries.


“He works hard, when the ball goes behind you as a defender he is on your back.

“It is a great strength of his that he doesn’t give defenders a minute’s break.

“He deserves the success he’s getting because of his work rate.

“Last week, when we were behind there was always a feeling we would get one back.

“It is such a confidence boost to know you have the ability and players to get a goal when you need it.

“But we had to swiftly move our focus to the next game.”

Godfrey, who counts former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand as a footballing mentor, reiterated his desire to play anywhere on the pitch for Everton.

The vast majority of his football for Norwich – including all 30 Premier League appearances – came in the middle of defence.

But after his battlefield promotion against Liverpool, Godfrey’s efforts have been channelled into reconnecting with the right-back position he occupied only twice in senior football before last week.

Godfrey’s Norwich lost 2-1 at Southampton last season, the hosts’ goals scored by striker Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand, the left-back expected to line up on the same flank as Godfrey this weekend.

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04:18 Fri 23 Oct 2020

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“Southampton are dangerous and well organised,” cautioned Godfrey.

“They work hard and have some real quality and keep a very high tempo.

“We have trained hard all week and will give ourselves the best chance possible – but it won’t be easy by any means.

“I am here to learn and give 100 per cent, no matter where I am on the pitch.

“Whether that’s centre-back, right-back or midfield, wherever the manager puts me… I will try to do my best for the boys.”

On receiving counsel from six-times Premier League winner Ferdinand, Godfrey added: “Rio talks to some of us young players and goes through our clips and games.

“He’ll see things I should have done or did well.

“It is massive credit to him he takes the time to do that. It is a massive help.

"He is always there to go through my game and try to develop me.

“He was a world class centre-back and has so much knowledge and experience, which can help me.

“I am really appreciative of what he does for me.”