Ben Godfrey believes the Everton squad’s “unbelievable bond and character” can propel the Blues to Champions League qualification – and revealed his ambition to win a first senior England call-up.
Everton can move into the Premier League top four with victory at in-form Chelsea on Monday night (6pm GMT). Carlo Ancelotti’s side are fifth in the Premier League table, one point and one position behind Chelsea and with a game in hand on the west London side.
Godfrey produced the latest in a series of powerful and assertive defensive performances as Everton recorded a third successive clean sheet in Thursday’s 1-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.
Godfrey made six clearances during the game and had an impressive passing accuracy rate of 90 per cent.
The 23-year-old also made four blocks – all inside his own box – the highest number of an Everton player in a Premier League match in three years.
“I’m never going to just move aside and let the other player get a shot away,” Godfrey told evertontv.
“It’s important we stick together to get these results and I think that’s shown on the pitch.
“The character we have is unbelievable – we’ve got a great dressing room.
“Long may that continue. Especially in these final stages of the season, we’re going to go to some tough places – that character and bond we’ve got has to be there.
“It’s intense every single game. That’s the Premier League. We go again in a couple of days [against Chelsea].
“We’ll rest up and recover and it’s another intense game coming up.
“The belief has always been there in this group [that we can qualify for Europe]. There are still plenty of games to go and to pick up points in. There are plenty more jobs to be done.”
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Godfrey has enjoyed an excellent debut season at Everton and has played the full 90 minutes in 17 of the Blues’ past 18 Premier League matches. His uncompromising tackling, marauding runs forward and quality in possession have seen him swiftly win the hearts of Evertonians.
England manager Gareth Southgate is also rumoured to be keeping a close eye on the defender’s progress.
Godfrey, who has made five appearances for England Under-21s, says winning a first senior international cap is a key personal target.
“A lot of people have mentioned that [playing for England] to me,” Godfrey added. “It would be strange for me to say I’m not aiming for that.
“I think any English player wants that accolade.
“I’ve got to keep playing well, keep learning, have consistency and, if I can achieve something like that, then great.”
Everton will aim to rack up a fourth consecutive victory in Monday’s game at Stamford Bridge, having seen off Liverpool, Southampton and West Brom without conceding a goal.
Godfrey, who has also excelled in both full-back positions when called upon this season, has lined up alongside England defender Michael Keane in the heart of the Blues’ defence in each of those successes.
“I’ve played in a few positions and I keep saying it, it doesn’t matter where I play, I’ll give it everything I’ve got,” he added.
“Of course, it’s always nice to play in my so-called preferred position [at centre-back].
“It’s always good playing next to Keano.
“He’s a top-class centre-back and he’s flying at the moment. I’m really enjoying it.”
Boss Ancelotti demanded Everton build on their rousing Merseyside derby win at Anfield – and the Blues have answered his call by taking maximum points from hard-fought contests with Southampton and West Brom.
Godfrey described the mentality in the squad as the Blues eye a top-four finish.
“The derby was great, of course, with our history of not winning there,” he said.
“But when you look at the bigger picture, three points for the league table was massive.
“Then we won the Southampton match and at West Brom – it’s a good run of games we’ve put together.
“But that’s gone now – it’s on to the next. It’s a cliché but that’s the reality. Every game is massive.
“We can take confidence from the West Brom win on Thursday and go to Chelsea hoping to pick up some more points.”