Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it flies by without any awareness of its speed and sometimes it passes so slowly as we wish it would move faster. For Everton’s Ben Godfrey, he has lived both experiences over the past couple of months. The defender was only ten minutes into the new season when an errant back pass crossed the goal line but was not seen by the assistant referee. Play continued and Godfrey responded to the danger of an onrushing Kai Havertz.
In that split second Godfrey knew that his leg had been severely injured. The initial prognosis was promising, but it was then decided that surgery was needed and the long road to recovery would be around three months. Time has slowed to a crawl for him and after a month of recovery it was great to get an update from him in an interview with the Club’s pre-match show, Everton Live.
The three-month timeline appears to still be the goal and with the World Cup break arriving at about the same time, it would make sense to use the break to solidify the strengthening of the leg. Realistically, the Boxing Day game at Goodison against Wolves would be the target return date. Sadly, the injury has dashed his hopes of playing in Qatar, but he continues to be positive about his situation.
“Things are going well in terms of the injury. Every day I’m improving and I’m just looking forward to being back. Mentally, it’s tough. As players, football is all we know, so for that to be taken away it’s difficult to deal with - but I’m lucky that I’ve got good people at the Club, my teammates, family, friends. Everyone has kept me going, reminding me that it’s only a temporary thing and I’ll be back soon.”
It is clear from the interview that Ben is missing the game, but he understands that the team continues moving forward in his absence. The team started that Chelsea game with Yerry Mina in the middle of a back five with Ben and James Tarkowski on either side. Before the game was finished both Godfrey and Mina were injured and the team was threadbare in the central defender department. A back three was out of the question moving forward and another central defender was needed. Enter Conor Coady.
Godfrey appreciates the new signings and the Blues’ newfound solidity in the back, saying:
“They’re great additions. Good guys and good footballers - you don’t need me to say that because we’ve all seen them over the years and how good they’ve been. We’ve made massive improvements in terms of the personality and additions to the squad. They’re great guys to be around and we’ll use every bit of that. They’ll help us kick on.”
The question now must be how Frank Lampard is going to set up his defence when everyone returns to fitness. The manager has historically lined up with three at the back. After the injuries to Godfrey and Mina he shuffled his pack and has used four at the back which has allowed Coady and Tarkowski to begin to build a solid foundation in the middle of the park. Our first clean sheet of the season against Liverpool was something that cannot be ignored.
With Godfrey, Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate also vying for a starting place it will be interesting to see whether Lampard returns to his favoured back three and who will miss out. Six players trying to fit into two or three places is problematic. If everyone stays fit, I believe that someone will be moving on in the January transfer window. Mina is in the final year of his contract and Keane was heavily linked with West Ham. Thankfully, time will answer these questions and you can rest assured that Ben Godfrey will definitely be playing a big role for Everton in the future.
Godfrey tries to put a timeline on it.
“When will I be back? I’m playing it by ear. It’ll be a couple of months but I’m just taking each day at a time and when it’s right, it’ll be right.”
Keep working hard in the physio room Ben and get back on to the pitch as quickly as possible. You are missed!