Ben Godfrey: 5 Things to Know About Norwich's Highly Rated Youngster

90min Staff
Jun 6, 2019, 11:09 AM GMT+1
Norwich City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Norwich City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship | Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Following promotion back to the top flight, Norwich will be looking to bed in and build on a superb 2018/19 campaign - which saw them lift the Championship title.

The Canaries were superb throughout the season, mixing a blend of youth with experience to coast away from nearest challengers Sheffield United and Leeds.

Two youngsters who starred throughout the campaign were Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey, with both reportedly catching the eye of a number of Premier League sides. Godfrey, in particular, has been linked with a move to Tottenham and Manchester United (who hasn't), but what do we know about him?

Well, we here at 90min thought we'd help you out on that one - with five things to know about a player you may not have seen play before.

He Possesses Desirable Versatility

Norwich City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Norwich City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship | Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Godfrey made 36 appearances for Norwich last season, in what was his first taste of regular Championship football after spending the 2017/18 season on loan at League One outfit Shrewsbury Town. 

During his breakthrough season with The Canaries, manager Daniel Farke had the luxury of using Godfrey at either centre back or in a holding midfield role. The 21-year-old scored four goals and contributed two assists, but brought so much more to the team - passing the ball around with effortless ease, dictating the tempo of the game and demonstrating a deft touch.

Both United and Spurs are looking to bolster their squad in these areas of the pitch and a player who can fill either role when called upon is a prized possession for any manager.

He's Pacey for a Central Defender

For a centre back, raw pace is a rare commodity - but Godfrey possesses plenty of it. Catching up to speedy strikers looking to get in behind can be a painful task, but the Canaries youngster has already shown what he's capable of.

In a Championship league game against Stoke towards the back end of the season, Godfrey demonstrated just quick he can be; tracking back from a Norwich corner to thwart a breakaway Stoke attack.

The clip went viral among the club's fanbase, and showed he has tremendous endurance and stamina - attributes he'll need to make it at the highest level.

Did We Mention Versatility? How About an Appearance as a Striker

Norwich City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Norwich City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship | Stephen Pond/GettyImages

So we've established Godfrey can play at centre back and in a central midfield role, but he started off his career as a striker.

Opening up in a video on Norwich's official YouTube channel before the start of last season, the defender revealed that his footballing hero was Thierry Henry and that he used to play as a striker until around the age of 11.

"My footballing hero is actually Thierry Henry, although I don't score that many goals it was Thierry Henry. I was a striker when I was a kid, up until about the age of 11 or 12. I liked his style of play and stuff like that and he obviously got plenty of goals, so yeh I enjoyed watching him."

Interesting stuff.

York City Will Benefit From a Big Money Move

Aston Villa v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship
Aston Villa v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship | Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

Keeping one eye on the transfer speculation over Godfrey will be former employees York City, who had the youngster on their books between 2014 and 2016. 

They sold him to Norwich in for an undisclosed fee, but it is widely reported that the move included a sell on fee.

The clause in the contract would mean York would net around 15% of any fee Norwich agree for the player, and with such high profile clubs keeping tabs on Godfrey, York will likely receive a six figure sum should a sale be completed.

He Has Lofty Ambitions 

Portugal U20 v England U20 - International Friendly
Portugal U20 v England U20 - International Friendly | Octavio Passos/GettyImages

Godfrey has come a long way in three years, gaining a call up to the England Under-20 team for their Elite League fixtures against Poland and Portugal in March. 

His speedy rise through the ranks has not phased the youngster and it seems his sights are firmly set on further improvement and reaching the senior England squad in the future. 

Speaking to the York Press after his international debut, he said: “The standard is even more competitive at under-21 level and there are some unbelievable players at that age group, so it’s a hard team to break into now, but I’d love to show them what I’m capable of.

“A couple of our boys went away and trained with the first team while we were at St George’s Park. A few years ago, that quick progression didn’t seem to be there, but Gareth Southgate has shown that, by playing people like Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi, he’s not afraid to chuck people in and he’ll give anybody a chance that deserve one.”

Time will tell whether Godfrey makes a move in the summer or stays with Norwich, but either way, he'll be plying his trade in the Premier League - giving him a platform to impress Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.