Ben Godfrey is aiming to add a measure of attacking flair to an uncompromising defensive game.
Supporters and pundits rained down plaudits on Godfrey for a stream of combative displays following the 23-year-old’s move from Norwich City to Everton last term.
Godfrey, who won his first England caps in the summer, was especially impressive operating in an unfamiliar left-back role.
Injuries and multiple absences have combined to usher the player back to the left side of defence of late.
Godfrey, whose position was tweaked again when he occupied a wing-back spot in the draw with Chelsea 11 days ago, spoke exclusively to Everton’s matchday programme for Thursday’s meeting with Newcastle United.
He tackled an array of subjects, revealing why the location of an England debut at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium was especially sweet and expanding on a “frightening” encounter with COVID at the outset of this campaign.
There was also an admission that he’s craving a first Everton goal after 51 appearances. From Godfrey, too, the stated intention to add a modicum of final-third adventure in the image of today’s flying full-backs.
“There will be times you bomb forward when you play full-back, you have to do it, and with my pace, I can get in dangerous positions,” said Godfrey.
“I haven’t found myself in those areas very often in my career, so I have to work on what to do when I’m there and practise my crossing and start contributing assists.
“Left-back sometimes feels easier than right-back, which is strange, I am not sure why. But I enjoy playing there.
“Defensively I back myself in one-v-one situations and to clean up balls played in behind me.
“I am lucky I have pace to defend and get forward, if need be.
“Scoring has been on my mind and a goal needs to come.
“It would mean a lot and be absolutely massive, it has been a long time coming and is a feeling I am looking forward to.
“There is no goal celebration planned. I will see where it takes me.”
Everton are poised to end a 24-day wait for a Goodison Park fixture when Newcastle visit this week.
Godfrey delivered one of his standout contributions this term when manager Rafa Benitez’s side roared back from one-goal down to stun Arsenal back on 6 December.
The defender set the tone for a bristling and ambitious Everton performance with a series of early forward dashes and a lusty ‘welcome-to-Goodison’ challenge on the Londoners’ right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu.
His dynamic display counted as further confirmation of Godfrey recovering the form and condition that marked him out as one of this country’s brightest young defenders last season.
He is the first to say a recent run in his favourite centre-half position didn’t unfold as hoped. But Godfrey is the owner of an old head on young shoulders and recognises the value of retaining perspective and confidence.
“Results weren’t good enough while I was playing there, so that put a downer on it,” said Godfrey.
“My form hasn’t necessarily been as good I want and I have loads more to show in that position.
“I’ve not been where I’d have liked in some games and I am working hard to change that.
“I’ve made some mistakes and that is the way things go, sometimes.
“If you are in football a long time, you learn to manage mistakes, no player is immune from them.
“You can be disappointed for a short period but you have to put it behind you, or you go round in circles, your confidence drops and it is a dangerous cycle.
“You need the confidence and arrogance to say, ‘That didn’t go right, forget about it and move on’.
“Last season, it was good performances week in, week out, and I want to get back to that level.
“I will keep learning and try to put it right.”
Additional programme sales points will be positioned outside Goodison Park for Thursday's clash with Newcastle, with limited options to buy inside the stadium.
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