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Ben Godfrey is set to face the club who released him at 15 when Sheffield Wednesday come to Goodison

Everton‘s Ben Godfrey considers it a blessing in disguise that today’s FA Cup opponents Sheffield Wednesday rejected him as a 15-year-old.

There weren’t many niceties when Godfrey was summoned to the Wednesday offices after a long trial to be told he wasn’t good enough. 

But the versatile defender has since recovered to become an England under-21 international and £25million Premier League footballer.

Ben Godfrey is set to face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup after they released him at 15

Ben Godfrey is set to face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup after they released him at 15

Ben Godfrey is set to face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup after they released him at 15

The 23-year-old signed for York after his release before joining Norwich and then Everton

The 23-year-old signed for York after his release before joining Norwich and then Everton

The 23-year-old signed for York after his release before joining Norwich and then Everton

‘I was there for ages. I thought I was one of the most successful ones. I remember speaking to my Dad and saying: ‘I did well there.’ At the end I was told I wasn’t better than the ones they already had,’ reveals the 23-year-old.

‘When they tell you, it’s not always an arm around the shoulder. Some of these coaches see a fair few kids come in and out of trial all the time. It is their job to let you go. Football is sometimes cruel.

‘But I am grateful I got to experience it that way to be honest. It definitely benefited me in the long run because I had good people around me and I’m glad with my journey. I wouldn’t change it at all.

‘A lot of young lads get the door shut in their face and fall out of love with the game or disappear out of it altogether. 

‘But I had good advice and my own mindset to prove all those people who let me go wrong.’

After disappointments at other clubs as well, Godfrey eventually broke through at hometown side York City and by practising on local fields with his Dad, a former rugby league player.

Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the Englishman and has selected him on a regular basis

Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the Englishman and has selected him on a regular basis

Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the Englishman and has selected him on a regular basis

He later signed for Norwich where he won promotion to the top flight and reached the FA Cup quarter-finals. 

He joined Everton in October and has already impressed Carlo Ancelotti making 16 first-team appearances across the backline.

Everton haven’t won a major trophy since 1995 – three years before Godfrey was born – and a home tie against struggling Championship opposition is a big motivation even though they are also challenging for the top four.

Everton won their last piece of silverware against Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup Final

Everton won their last piece of silverware against Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup Final

Everton won their last piece of silverware against Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup Final

‘Both are special for different reasons,’ says Godfrey. ‘The Champions League is the pinnacle of football, but a lot of my coaches and retired players say when you’ve finished the game, medals and the memories are the only thing you take with you.’

Godfrey, already a cult hero among Evertonians following a full-blooded tackle at Goodison on Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos, has twice been to Wembley and lost during a loan spell with Shrewsbury Town.

Now he’s hoping to make it third time lucky under Carlo Ancelotti, who has managed some of the greatest defenders in the game like Paolo Maldini and John Terry.

Mike Trebilcock and Everton boss Harry Catterick celebrate winning the FA Cup Final in 1966

Mike Trebilcock and Everton boss Harry Catterick celebrate winning the FA Cup Final in 1966

Mike Trebilcock and Everton boss Harry Catterick celebrate winning the FA Cup Final in 1966

‘I have been trying to soak up everything I can,’ adds Godfrey, who is primarily a central defender but has been used as a full back this season.

‘He stressed to me that some of the best centre backs ever played in other positions when they were younger. It can only help you learn. That is what I am trying to do at the minute.’

Today’s tie is a repeat of the 1966 FA Cup Final, when Everton came from 2-0 down to beat Wednesday 3-2 in Wembley’s last big event before that summer’s World Cup.

Source: Daily

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