‘All the ingredients to be an outstanding centre back, world class’ - Norwich City starlet tipped for big things
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Ben Godfrey can reach the top of the tree – but for Daniel Farke that is as a high class centre back.
The 20-year-old powerhouse impressed alongside Christoph Zimmermann in the 3-1 League Cup win at Cardiff, after Farke had publicly backed him to become a 'world class' defender.
Godfrey operated in a holding midfield role on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season, but that was all part of Farke's grand masterplan.
'We have had an honest chat about this and Ben is totally aware of my plans and my thoughts,' he said.
'To play in midfield at a lower level helps you to improve your performance in defence, because he knows what type of passes those holding midfielders need.
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'Look at many world class centre backs, they nearly all started in central midfield. (Gerard) Pique in Spain, (Mats) Hummels and (Jerome) Boateng in Germany, even in England with Rio Ferdinand at the very start.
'In midfield you have less time so you improve your ball control in tight situations and your technique.
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'To have many games like Ben did is a big value for his future. 100pc, I can put him immediately in that position and I will be tempted to do this but longer term, he is a centre back for me.'
Godfrey has had to bide his time in the Championship so far behind international duo Grant Hanley and Timm Klose, while City's midfield is a hot area.
'We have lots of competition in this role and several players who are different in this role,' said the head coach.
'(Tom) Trybull and (Moritz) Leitner for example, but Alex Tettey and Louis Thompson have that physical strength.
'There will be one or two games when Ben can play in the number six, and win some aerial duels, but longer term I see him at centre back.
'I have the feeling when he gets used to this position and can have more games to learn the decision-making in the last row, because it is different, he has all the ingredients to be an outstanding centre back, world class.
'It is not a guarantee he gets there but if he can use his potential in this position he has everything you need.
'He can have a great, great career. Maybe in the holding midfielder he can be a good Championship player, maybe higher, but I see him in training and in the cup games and pre-season and I see his mid to long term future in that position.'