Godfrey Relishing Everton Environment

Ben Godfrey has revealed the positive influence of manager Sean Dyche on Everton's dressing room - and on a personal level after a testing first half of the season.

The 26-year-old defender has started each of the Blues' past five matches, having started only once this campaign - in the 2-0 away win over Burnley in mid-December - before that run.

Talk of a move away from Merseyside during the January transfer window was wide of the mark, says Godfrey, who has admiration for the Dyche's methods and the clear improvements made since the manager's arrival in January last year.

“You can definitely feel a new atmosphere,” said Godfrey, in an interview that first appeared exclusively in the Official Matchday Programme. “The manager has brought a lot of positives to the Club. I think we feel tighter as a group. We can have a laugh as a group, everyone is on the same page, everyone gets involved and everyone new is made to feel welcome.

“Everything takes time whenever a new manager comes in but he brought it together quickly. He was clear with his messages and the lads just got behind it. I think with the characters we’ve got here as well it just felt like a natural fit.

“The togetherness shows on the pitch with our performances as well. You saw it at the back end of last season and even more so this season, everyone is digging in together and it feels like there is a group of mates out there who are fighting for each other.

“There is no better feeling than that, especially when you have success at the end of it. It’s such a good environment at the minute. I think the lads are grateful for what the manager has created in that respect, in particular.”

Personally, Dyche has been an important figure for Godfrey, too.

“He’s been supportive through what is a tough period of not playing as much, whether that’s being complimentary about how I’ve been training or in the games I have had he has been encouraging,” explains Everton’s No.22. “Obviously, he’s there to help and give constructive criticism to get the best out of you as well, but he’s been really supportive over the past six months and made me really feel part of the group, despite not having many minutes. That’s been good for me.

“For me, it is purely being ready to perform every time I get my chance, and keep helping the boys as much as I can because as a group we just want to keep putting points on the board."

Everton’s defensive unit has been particularly impressive so far this term, with only Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool - the top three sides in the table - conceding fewer goals than the Blues.

That success has meant manager Dyche has retained consistency in his line-ups.

For Godfrey’s part, his versatility - he has played across the backline during his Everton career, as well as a range of midfield roles at previous clubs - places him in a handy position to step in wherever necessary, even if centre-back remains his favoured position.

“It’s a question I get asked quite a lot,” he explained. “It can obviously be a blessing and a curse but, ultimately, I just want to play.

“To be honest, I enjoy playing centre-half most but I’m always open to doing a job in the full-back areas when needed. I think I’ve played most positions throughout my career, so it’s not a problem.

“Right now, it’s one of them where I haven’t been on the pitch that much over the past six months so to be playing in any position, I’d snap your hand off.

“Being strong defensively is something that the manager takes pride in. We’ve worked on it a lot on the training ground and that’s rubbed off on the group.

“We take pride in clean sheets and making it difficult for opposing teams. That will continue. It’s always important.”