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Everton defender Ben Godfrey relishing leadership role with England Under-21s

Ben Godfrey
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Everton defender Ben Godfrey says he thrives in his role as one of Aidy Boothroyd’s leaders in the England Under-21 squad.

Godfrey is hoping to make his eighth appearance for the Young Lions on Thursday when they get the group phase of their European U21 Championship campaign under way against Switzerland in Slovenia.

The 23-year-old wore the captain’s armband on his full debut for Boothroyd’s side against Kosovo in 2019 and relishes the extra responsibility.

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“Being a leader is something that I’ve done since a young age and it’s something that I want to go on and do later on in my career as well,” he said.

“It’s just something that I enjoy doing – setting standards and helping people, driving people forward.

“As for the team, you know we’ve got a lot of young players, so it’s important as a senior member that I do that.

“There’s a few of us as well to help keep those standards high and help people out when they need it.”

Godfrey, left, has earned some rave reviews in his first season in the top flight

Godfrey, left, has earned some rave reviews in his first season in the top flight (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Godfrey has won plenty of accolades this season since joining Everton from Norwich for a reported £25million in October.

He has already been compared to former England centre-half Rio Ferdinand following some outstanding displays in several different positions in Carlo Ancelotti’s defence.

“I feel that’s natural for anyone when things are going well,” he said. “You naturally feel a little bit more confident.

“You mentioned the comparison and that’s not something I tend to look at. I have my own goals and things that I want to improve on and I have to work hard to learn.

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“I’m very fortunate enough to have good people around me and good staff at the club I’m with at the minute to help me do that.”

Godfrey pointed to Everton skipper Seamus Coleman as the perfect example.

“I haven’t met anyone in the game who’s got a bad word to say about him,” Godfrey added. “I think he’s an ultimate role model for someone like myself who wants to go on and lead a team one day.

“He’s done a fantastic job of being a captain and there won’t be anyone who will say otherwise.

“As a young player I can pick up things that he does and bring it into these sort of occasions to try and help other people as he does on a day-to-day basis.”