Norwich City bid for young midfielder Ben Godfrey turned down by York City
16:52 01 January 2016
York City manager Jackie McNamara has revealed Norwich City have had a bid turned down for the League Two club’s highly rated young midfielder Ben Godfrey.
The 17-year-old has made 14 appearances for the Minstermen this season, scoring his first senior goal in a 2-1 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle in November.
The Daily Mirror has reported that Canaries boss Alex Neil personally scouted the tall youngster in a 6-0 loss at Portsmouth earlier in the campaign.
Godfrey is originally from York but was part of the youth system at Middlesbrough when he was younger, before starting a scholarship with York in 2014 and going on to captain the club’s under-18s.
The midfielder, who can also play at centre-back, has reportedly turned down two chances to sign professional terms with the Minstermen and with his youth contract due to expire at the end of the season the Mirror claim compensation would cost around £80,000,
McNamara, speaking to The York Press, said: “Norwich made a bid that the chairman has rejected and I explained that to Ben because I believe in being open and honest.
“We’re not working against him and the last thing the club would ever want to do is stand in the way of any player’s progress, but the offer wasn’t enough for the club or chairman to even think about.”
Godfrey was an unused substitute in York’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield on Monday, with McNamara admitting speculation has unsettled the highly rated prospect.
“I think the last couple of weeks he had been yeah,” McNamara told BBC Radio York, when asked if the player’s head had been turned by the recent interest.
“I think the last couple of days he’s been settled down and I can see a difference in him now, maybe because he knows there’s interest there and he’s taken it the right way and been confident with it.
“Before he was possibly anticipating it or worrying about it but you have to remember he’s only 17-year-old, sometimes it’s difficult for him to understand and to think they have to do certain things differently from what they’ve done before.
“I’ve experienced that a lot before with younger players I’ve worked with and it’s always difficult this stage of the season to keep them focused mentally, not worrying about where they could be or what’s going to happen with them.
“But he’s a good kid and as I said, the last few days he’s been good in training.”
West Brom, Hull, Cardiff and Barnsley have all previously been linked with making a move for Godfrey but it seems Norwich are in pole position for his signature.
McNamara added: “He’s got potential, I think that’s what everybody will look at, he has potential there.
“For me, he’s got a big heart, he gives you everything he has and he’s a good size as well. People look at that, (he’s) athletic and a really good prospect.”