Ben Godfrey has vowed football will continue championing racial equality “until the world is a far better place" following the deplorable racist abuse directed at the three England players who were unsuccessful in Sunday’s European Championship final penalty shootout.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted with vile messages on social media following the defeat to Italy at Wembley.
England manager Gareth Southgate called the treatment of the players “unforgivable”.
And while Godfrey conceded there was a sad inevitability about the online abuse, the Everton defender - who was in Southgate’s squad for two friendly matches prior to the tournament - insisted efforts to fight inequality would not stop.
“Sad as it is, it was always coming,” Godfrey told evertontv. “You expected it to happen and it shouldn’t be like that.
“That is the world we are living in at the minute.
“We have to keep working hard to try to change that.
“We shouldn’t live in a world where football effects people’s lives outside in terms of race.
“It is disappointing to see.
“I think the majority of the country will back the lads and it is important we do that.
“Every black player has experienced it [online abuse] at some point, through social media, or whatever it might be.
“I think if you asked 99 per cent of young black players, it is something we have all been through and we all deal with it in different ways.”
Debate over whether England’s players should take the knee before kick-off in matches rumbled into the tournament this summer.
It was unanimously decided in camp to continue the gesture designed to highlight racial inequality.
And Godfrey is an advocate of pressing home the message that discrimination won’t be tolerated in football or society.
That is supported through Everton's All Together Now campaign to celebrate diversity and increase awareness of everything done by the Club and Everton in the Community to promote equality.
“We have to do every single bit we can to try to change the situation we are in and it is going to take a lot of hard work and educating of people to do that,” said Godfrey.
“But we will consistently try to turn it around and change that.
“We won’t stop until the world is a far better place and these things stop happening.”
Godfrey’s England call in May was just reward for a fabulous first season with Everton following a transfer from Norwich City last October.
He came off the bench for a debut in a 1-0 win over Austria, then played 90 minutes when England defeated Romania by the same scoreline.
And in Southgate, the 23-year-old sees a boss whose open selection policy allows players to believe in their international ambitions.
England’s next tilt at glory will come towards the end of 2022 when the World Cup is staged in Qatar.
“For every young English player, the Euros has gone now, you have to pick up form for your club and put yourself in contention to be involved in the World Cup,” said Godfrey.
“The main focus is doing that [performing] for your club, then your talent and ability will be recognised.
“In previous years, for young players it’s been really hard to break in.
“The manager has given young players that pathway now, it’s become a realistic goal to be involved and play regular football.
“There are lads who have been in the Under-21s and found a way into the senior squad.
“It gives you the realistic goal to aim for that and achieve it.”
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, who was joined in England's squad by Blues striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, enjoyed a flawless competition, recording five clean sheets and conceding only twice.
“He has been unbelievable,” said Godfrey.
“He is a good mate of mine and it is really nice to see him do well.
“He works hard for those moments.
“I am gutted for him, the same for Dom and the rest of the lads.
“But they can be proud of themselves.
“They have done the whole country proud.
“It is time for them to rest up and, although it is going to be difficult, try to remember it for the right reasons.”