Smug? No, just pride for Farke at Godfrey's starring City role
Daniel Farke will resist any urge to be smug after converting Ben Godfrey to the central defensive lynchpin powering Norwich City's Championship promotion surge.
Farke insisted earlier this season the 21-year-old had the potential to be a ‘world class’ defender, despite operating so impressively in a holding midfield role on loan at Shrewsbury Town 12 months ago.
Godfrey has been an ever-present since December’s home league win over Rotherham, notching his third goal of the season in the corresponding 2-1 away triumph at the Millers prior to the international break.
His consistent club displays alongside Christoph Zimmermann have also earned him a first England Under-20 call-up. Godfrey made his Young Lions’ debut last week against Poland’s U20s, and could feature on Tuesday night against Portugal’s U20s.
“Yes, deep inside it is pleasing that I was not wrong with my judgement. But all credit goes to Ben,” said Farke. “It was a big transition for him to accept that he plays in a different role and to change his game management slightly.
“He had to wait a few months until there was a chance to shine in this role but since he came in he has been outstanding.
“So solid and in this period of wins he has been crucial.
“Where he plays on the pitch you cannot have that amount of points if your defenders are not on a high level.
“For me, the call up is well deserved. We know it is not the end of his development. This is the Under-20s and there are a few bigger teams yet for England. My plan is not only to bring Ben to the Under-20s.”
Godfrey’s maturity has helped him adapt to Farke’s demands.
“You can sometimes lose the ball in midfield but you can’t make a mistake in defence,” said the City head coach. “You can speak about the best centre backs in the world now but at 19 and 20 they will have made mistakes.
“The best ones learn. Ben is playing without mistakes and that is outstanding.
“He is a pretty emotional player and I like that a lot because it means you are capable of finding another gear.
“When he played in the holding role he was able to drag his team through, but playing at centre back if we are losing or having a difficult period and he starts to get the red mist we have to calm him down.
“Now he is able to calm himself down, to focus and control his emotions.”