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‘Awkward deployment’: Everton star gets 5/10 for international display

Everton defender Ben Godfrey has been criticised for his performance as England beat Romania in their final Euro 2020 warm-up.

The Toffees star was included in England’s provisional 33-man squad but failed to make the cut for the final 26. Yet Gareth Southgate elected to start Godfrey at right-back as the Three Lions recorded back-to-back wins ahead of the tournament.

Godfrey has now left the England camp after Southgate chose Ben White as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s replacement in the final 26. Despite the Brighton man earning both of his caps in central defence and only playing 14 career games at full-back.

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Godfrey has proven himself to be immensely versatile since joining Everton from Norwich in October for £20million. The 23-year-old made eight of his 31 Premier League appearances under Carlo Ancelotti at left-back and four on the right.

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Southgate clearly shares Ancelotti’s belief in his ability, but Godfrey failed to win over the national media against Romania. Sky Sports scored him at 5/10 and felt he was also off the pace on his England debut last Wednesday.

“Nervy off the bench against Austria and caught out in the early stages again. Grew into the game and looked to get forward but awkward deployment at right-back,” they wrote.

Only Tyrone Mings (4/10), Jordan Henderson (5/10) and Ollie Watkins (5/10) also earned scores below a base six from Sky. But The Telegraph offered more assured praise for Godfrey’s display against Romania, awarding him a 6/10 and noting:

“Versatile defender looked very good going forward, linking well with [Jadon] Sancho and even cutting in once to produce an off-target shot. Solid and made good decisions in defence.”

TBR’s view: Everton and Godfrey must be pleased

While Godfrey has received mixed feedback from the national media for his first England start, Everton will be pleased. The Norwich product came on leaps and bounds last season and fully deserved a chance to impress Southgate.

His performance against Romania was not a disaster, either. Instead, there were plenty of positives Godfrey and Everton can take from the game. Firstly, he started on the front foot by clearing away a dangerous cross before anyone could create a real chance.

Godfrey later showed his attacking potential by connecting with Sancho before taking a shot with his weaker left foot. He also found Watkins with a cross in the closing stages and put himself about in the air. All the while defensive opportunities were hardly regular.

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