Everton’s troubles aren’t all Rafael Benitez’s fault – but he needs an outcome to appease restless fans
Everton face Brentford on Sunday without suspended Richarlison looks difficult. With the Merseyside derby coming up on Wednesday, there is a sense of trepidation as to whether it might have to get worse before it gets better.
Rather than hide behind seemingly valid reasons for the recent underperformance, Godfrey says it’s time to fight back.
âIt’s not about making excuses,â he says. âPeople can find excuses for anything. Everything in life. When the players are injured, we have good players to come and play. We are really lucky. You cannot say that our form is only due to injuries. It is about other things also the day. We will soon come out of this difficult period. We have the characters to do it.
It’s a vigorous response from a young player, although even the suggestion that he delivers an upbeat message elicits a somewhat fiery reaction.
âWe have a job to do. It’s not about spreading [words] hope. It’s about winning games, âsays Godfrey.
His answer begs the question: what are these “other things”?
“You can have days where you concede a lot of goals in a short period of time, like we did against Watford, which you don’t see very often,” he said.
Unfortunately for Everton, all roads appear to lead to Watford’s collapse last month, when a 2-1 lead – which would have put Rafael BenÃtez’s side in the top four – ended by a 5-2 loss. Since then, they have plummeted, this match risking to be perceived as a turning point of the season.
“It’s not something you see in the game of the day every week, is it?” Godfrey said. âIt’s hard to say that we have learned from it because we have played a few games since then without result. Fashion has lost its game, we are not looking to do it anytime soon.
âAnd then a few more games later you play against Man City, which is always a tough game away from home. This is just the way it is. Some days in the Premier League you can play off your own skin and lose 1-0. It’s unfortunate the minute we go through this period where we haven’t had a win for a little while. But it will come.
âWe know we’ve been on a rough patch, but you can soon be back in the field if you stay relaxed, keep working hard and do all you can to get those three points. If you do this then your luck will start to change.
Godfrey appears in the interview much like in the field; no nonsense. At only 23 years old, he is happy to take on seniority in the locker room.
âIt’s important to have these kinds of characters in and around the team,â he says. âIt’s something that I’ve done all my life, as a kid playing football – to be kind of a personality on the team. And through my professional career too.
“I’m really lucky to have people like Shay [Seamus Coleman] and Delphine [Fabian Delph] and some good leaders around me from whom I can learn a lot because in the future I also want to be seen as one of those leaders. So yes, this is extremely important.
This leadership became evident when, after making his debut with Carlo Ancelotti in the Merseyside derby in October of last year, Godfrey shone to such an extent that he was on the verge of making the squad of Gareth Southgate for the Euro, being one of the unlucky reservations to go through.
But BenÃtez’s summer arrival coincided with Godfrey’s death with Covid-19, and until recently he hasn’t felt able to play at full capacity.
“I lived those first games after coming back to where I was having a little trouble,” he said. âI’m pretty much back to normal now and ready to go. I desperately wanted to do my best to help the guys.
Besides helping Everton’s recovery, Godfrey has another ambition in mind with the World Cup a year from now.
âI’m sure all English people have in mind to be on that plane for the World Cup,â he said. “All I can do is keep moving forward and hopefully perform consistently well for Everton and the international team will take care of themselves.
âI have both hats at home on display. They are not so much a reminder of what I have accomplished. Rather, it’s about reminding myself of what I want most in the future. As you go through spells like this, looking at your English caps reminds you of where you are and where you need to go. They are nice to watch and then mentally help me get started.