After missing the first four games of the season for Everton because of Covid 19, Ben Godfrey finally made his return to the Premier League in the game against Burnley. Since then, he has produced a string of impressive performances. Most recently, in the game against Manchester United. Despite that, manager Rafa Benitez believes that he is still performing at 70% and that he can improve a lot.
Godfrey moved from Norwich City to Everton for a fee of £25 million. He was relatively unknown when he arrived at Everton but since then has emerged as one of the best performers in the team. Godfrey’s strongest traits are athleticism and speed. He’s one of the fastest centre backs in the Premier League and is known for covering the ground in no time. Thanks to his speed, Godfrey recovers well which allows him to cover large pockets of space. He is robust and resolute in his defending. Godfrey is known for his work rate and despite that, he is rarely seen fatigued.
Let’s take a look into his stats this season since his return to Rafa Benitez’s squad.
In the recent game against Manchester United, he was second highest both in terms of recoveries in the opponent half and aerial duel wins, tied with McTominay. His stats in the previous season were brilliant. He ranked the top in pressures and blocks while making the few errors and ranked second best in tackles and interceptions.
For a defender, his stats in the attacking and creativity department have been impressive. The stats indicate that he is a threat in the opponent half, he surpasses the median league value in terms of the majority of the attacking metrics.
Godfrey is a versatile defender capable of playing in multiple roles in the defence, he is adept in playing as a left full-back, left centre back and as a right back. He has even played in a three-man defence. His defensive stats are unparalleled, last season he ranked amongst the best in terms of many defensive metrics. This season, his aerial duels per 90, interceptions per 90 and recoveries in the opposition half per 90 are already above-median league value despite playing a fewer number of games.
Godfrey’s pass map indicates, he has the ability to play a wide variety of passes in multiple areas of the pitch. This season he has already played multiple passes in the opposition half, his passes into the opposition box have the highest xT. This season he has been mostly utilized at the right-back position as indicated by his many passes in the right-wing.
Godfrey’s athleticism and work rate is further illustrated by his heatmap, this season he has been most active on the right-wing. He has also pushed high up in the opposition half in this season.
He has been involved in multiple air duels and ground defending duels already this season. He has engaged in most of the duels in his own half.
Godfrey might only be playing at 70% although his recent performances have been impressive, if his manager’s words are any indication then we might see him improve even further as the season progresses. Although he is still 23 years old, he has all the attributes that have made him a remarkable defender. In addition to all that he has all the qualities required to lead the backline. His performances will definitely have an impact on Everton’s season going forward.