Wed 24 Mar 2021
DAVIES TIPS EVERTON TEAMMATE FOR STAR EUROS ROLE
By Paul McNamara
Tom Davies expects Everton and international teammate Ben Godfrey to alert the continent to his talent at the forthcoming European Under-21 Championship.
Defender Godfrey has had a formidable opening six months at Goodison Park, promptly acquiring an important role for Carlo Ancelotti following a transfer from Norwich City.
The 23-year-old made his England Under-21 debut as recently as September 2019 but his progress in the intervening period led to speculation over a call for the latest senior international squad.
Godfrey didn’t make the cut on this occasion and, like Davies, is a member of a very strong party in Slovenia as England begin their bid for a first European Under-21 title since 1984.
He has played 29 games for Everton – starting and finishing the past 11 in all competitions – and filled every position across the backline.
“Ben took off as soon as he got here [Everton],” said Davies.
“The physical side of his game and defensive knowledge and positioning and playing out from the back [are all attributes].
“To have him here is great, I know his strengths and that I can rely on him and how good he is – he has been fantastic.
“I am made up how well he’s done.
“He has been asked to play out of position at right-back and left-back and played in a back three.
“But Ben takes everything in his stride and is a confident lad and really good at what he does.
“Each position he’s played, he’s been fantastic and it‘s like he’s been there his whole career.
“I hope he can continue and show everyone how good he is in this tournament.”
Davies was in terrific form in Everton’s midfield before a small quadriceps injury disrupted his season this month.
The 22-year-old is another who has flourished under Everton manager Ancelotti, featuring 23 times this term and playing some of his best football since a First-Team debut five years ago next month.
“I needed that bit of guidance and to learn from someone like him who understands football, for him to give me his knowledge and push me on to becoming the player I want to be," said Davies.
"He has given me a lot of advice and I am trying to take it on board every day.
“He has really improved the squad and our mentality and desire to reach higher targets.
“I am made up to be working under him.”
Davies will add to his haul of 21 England Under-21 caps this month.
And the dream scenario is to finish his Under-21 involvement in a European Championship final on 6 June.
First, manager Aidy Boothroyd’s team must finish in the top two of a group featuring Switzerland, Portugal and Croatia to qualify for the knockout stages, which begin with quarter-finals on 31 May.
“This is something I really want to win, so I will be onto the lads making sure we are all up for it and ready to go,” continued Davies, whose side begin against Switzerland on Thursday.
“It is more about what we do [than the strength of opponents], we are a great side and we know it.
“If we win the first game, we can continue the momentum through the group and will be fine.
“They are three good teams but if we play how we can, we will qualify.
“England is producing a lot of young talent and we have a fantastic squad.
“We want to prove a point and show how good English football is – it’s been a while since we won this tournament and we have a good enough group to do it.”