Ben Godfrey says England international Dominic Calvert-Lewin displayed the poise and skill of a “great striker” to bank Everton’s Premier League victory over West Ham United on Sunday.
Calvert-Lewin’s 16th league goal of the season, created by a through ball from centre-back Godfrey, set up a potential grandstand finish to the campaign for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Everton go to Aston Villa on Thursday knowing victory would draw them level on points with fifth-placed West Ham.
Godfrey, one of several man-of-the-match contenders at London Stadium, recognises his side’s top-six hopes will stand or fall on an ability in the closing four games to banish recent inconsistency issues.
They were worth their success against West Ham – an 11th away from home this season – after a disciplined and coordinated performance was crowned by Calvert-Lewin’s angled drive beyond goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
“Dom makes great runs, I put the ball into some space, he is quick and strong and it was never in doubt he would finish it, with the form he’s been in,” said Godfrey.
“I see it every day in training, everyone at the Club will tell you how hard he works, it is no coincidence that when it comes to matchday, he puts away chances like that.
“He backs himself to finish those opportunities and is really critical of himself [if he doesn’t].
“That is the sign of a great striker, he is hungry and long may it continue.
“We have been strong all season away from home, so it is no surprise to us when we come to a place like this, which isn’t easy, and leave with three points.
“Now we have to just keep winning and giving 100 percent, that is all we can do.
“Take care of ourselves and go into every game aiming to come out with three points.”
The clean sheet against West Ham was Everton’s third in a row away from home – the first time they’ve managed that in the Premier League since early in 2015/16.
That the latest shutout came at a side currently second in the top-flight home-form table added to Godfrey’s satisfaction.
He drew greater pleasure, nonetheless, from a result that essentially kept alive Everton’s campaign, eight days after a home defeat by Aston Villa threatened to extinguish European qualification hopes.
A chance for speedy redemption arrives at Villa Park this week before Everton welcome Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers to Goodison Park.
Godfrey made five tackles against West Ham – the most of any player on the field – in a characteristically combative effort on the 23-year-old’s 24th start in 26 Premier League matches.
“We have been strong away from home all season but we knew it would be tough at West Ham,” said Godfrey.
“We had a game plan, which we executed well, and it is a massive win.
“As a defender, it is a great feeling to come away with a clean sheet, their attacking players have been in really good form, so to keep them quiet shows it was a good defensive display.
“We are pleased with that but more pleased with the three points.
“It was important we bounced back from last week, which was another missed opportunity at home that we were gutted about.”
Everton, who end the season at Champions League finalists Manchester City in a fortnight, would compete in next term’s inaugural Europa Conference League with a seventh-placed finish.
Get into fifth or sixth and it would mean a return to the Europa League, four years after the Club last participated in that competition.
“We want to finish as high as possible and will go into every game with that mindset,” added Godfrey.
“We have to believe in ourselves.
“It is never going to be easy [to reach Europe], we have worked hard this year, we want to finish positively and get what we deserve.
“We have four massive games to finish the season and I’m looking forward to them.”