Ben Godfrey has signed for Everton from Norwich City for an undisclosed fee, penning a five-year deal until the end of June 2025.
The 22-year-old central defender, broadly regarded as one of England’s brightest prospects, captained England Under-21s on his full debut in September 2019 and was an integral part of Norwich’s Championship title-winning campaign in 2018/19.
Godfrey, who has also played in central midfield and at full-back during his fledgling career, graduated through the youth system at hometown club York City before signing for Norwich on his 18th birthday.
He is Everton’s fifth signing of this transfer window following the arrivals of Niels Nkounkou, Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
“It is an honour to sign for Everton and to be part of a huge club,” Godfrey told evertonfc.com after completing his move. “I am very thankful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.
“The aim for me at Everton is to win trophies and win games. I like to win. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I care and I am a passionate lad.
“The fans can guarantee they will get 110 per cent out of me when I am on the pitch.
“This is a club full of history that has an exciting team full of world-class players who will help me kick on to the next level. I am looking forward to working with them and, hopefully, having great times with Everton Football Club.
“Carlo Ancelotti, Marcel Brands and the Board want success for the Club and it is really exciting to be here.
“The manager’s past speaks for itself. He has worked with some top-class centre-backs. I will be able to learn so much from him and he is going to help me get to that next level, which is where I want to be.”
Godfrey will now link up with England Under-21s alongside new Blues teammate Tom Davies for European Championship qualifiers against Andorra and Turkey before returning to help Everton continue their impressive start to the season which has seen them win all seven of their matches to date, including Saturday’s 4-2 victory at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.
“I like to bring pace to the game. I like to play out from the back,” added Godfrey. “I can play in a range of positions: left or right as a centre-back, I have played full-back and holding midfield. I will play wherever the manager sees fit as I absolutely trust his opinion.
“I have played at Goodison a few times for my previous club. It is an intimidating place to come when you are an away team.
“To have that support behind you on a game day will give you that extra yard, that extra 10 per cent, and I can’t wait to get out and play in front of the fans when they are able to return.
“I’m ready and raring to go. We have the international break now but I will come back after that and it will be time for work.”
Ben Godfrey says it was impossible to resist the opportunity to be “part of a massive club”, with the talented defender “ready and raring” to begin his Everton career.
England Under-21 centre-back Godfrey completed a move to Goodison Park from Norwich City on Monday, signing a five-year deal with the Blues until the end of June 2025.
The Club’s fifth signing of this ongoing transfer window, 22-year-old Godfrey played 30 times in the Premier League for Norwich City last season after an integral role in the Carrow Road team’s 2018/19 Championship title-winning season.
Godfrey harbours long-term England ambitions, which he insists can be fulfilled as a member of Everton’s glittering squad and under the guidance of renowned boss Carlo Ancelotti.
But the player, an international colleague of Everton midfielder Tom Davies, is prioritising gaining a position in Everton’s team and tangible success with his new club.
“I am most looking forward to being part of a massive club,” Godfrey told evertontv.
“I have been on an upwards journey and now I have taken the step of making the move to Everton.
“It is great and it is an honour.
“You want to be part of a huge club like Everton.
“It is a club full of history. It has world-class players, some young players.
“I have senior players who will help me kick on to the next level.
“I am looking forward to working with them and, hopefully, having a successful time at this club.
“Success for me is trophies and winning games, I like to win.
“My next target is to break into Everton’s First Team and be a regular player.
“I am absolutely ready and raring to go.
“I have the international break but I will come back in two weeks and it is time for work.”
Godfrey is Everton’s second defensive capture of this trading window after the acquisition of former Marseille left-back Niels Nkounkou in July.
Centre-half Jarrad Branthwaite joined at the start of the year, while Everton have a formidable trio of senior central defenders in Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate.
Godfrey is savouring the prospect of duelling for his place – and enhancing his own chances by gleaning information from manager Ancelotti and experienced figures such as England international Keane, Seamus Coleman, Everton’s captain, and fellow defender Mina.
The player, who joined Norwich from hometown club York City on his 18th birthday in January 2016, spent his season on loan with Shrewsbury Town in 2017/18 operating as a deep-lying midfielder.
He filled in as a full-back at the outset of his time with Norwich.
“I am looking forward to working with the manager and I am sure he can help me reach the next level and teach me endless amounts in the game,” said Godfrey.
“He has worked with some top-class centre-backs and it is going to be great to play under him.
“I will be able to learn so much from him and he is going to help me reach that next level, which is where I want to be.
“The senior boys have been through experiences you might not have seen at 22.
“It is vitally important as a young player to soak up their knowledge and learn from them.
“I briefly spoke to Seamus Coleman after a game when I played against Everton for Norwich.
“He seems like a top guy and I am sure I can pick up plenty of things from him.
“I can learn from Michael Keane and Yerry Mina.
“Competition is healthy… it is good to have that battle for your spot.
“It can only make you a better player.
“I can play a range of positions.
“Centre-back, in a back three on the left or right.
“I have played full-back and holding midfield.
“Whatever the manager sees fit… if he sees me going furthest in a certain position, I absolutely trust his opinion.”
Godfrey played 15 games for York after making his senior debut in a League Two match against Yeovil Town in August 2015.
He was snapped up by then Premier League Norwich five months later and spent a productive season with Shrewsbury in 2017/18 – reaching the finals of the League One play-offs and EFL Trophy – before returning to Norfolk to establish himself as a key player for Canaries manager Daniel Farke.
Godfrey won the first of his five England Under-21 caps last September and captained the team on his first start three days later.
“I like to bring pace to the game and to play out from the back,” said Godfrey.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve. I care. I am a passionate lad.
“The fans can guarantee they will get 110 per cent out of me when I am on the pitch.
“I set my own personal goals and, hopefully, will have plenty of success while I am at Everton Football Club.
“It is a great time to be in the England set-up.
“There is a pathway for young players into the England team.
“It is another goal of mine.
“I have to work hard and learn and, hopefully, in the future, I can achieve it.”
Godfrey, who becomes the fourth Yorkshireman in Everton’s squad, besides Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Fabian Delph, is poised to link up with England Under-21s for European Championship qualifying games against Andorra and Turkey.
He will return in 10 days to an Everton side preparing for a Goodison Park Merseyside derby on 17 October and aiming to extend its flawless start to the season.
Buoyed by the arrivals of the premium trio of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure on the eve of the campaign, Everton have won all four Premier League matches, scoring 12 goals.
Ancelotti’s side has doubled their scoring tally in three Carabao Cup matches to book a quarter-final date with Manchester United in December.
“The Club has players with world-class quality and the manager’s past speaks for itself,” added Godfrey, who played Norwich’s opening three games of this Championship season.
“It is an exciting team to watch.
“They have got off to a great start and long may that continue.
“Working with the manager and staff and players here, it is going to be a great place for me to come and learn and, hopefully, have great times with Everton Football Club.
“It is a massive club with lots of history.
“It is a pleasure and an honour to be here.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”