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The biggest of all challenges up next for the ever improving England U21 skipper

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From being on the fringes at Norwich City to captaining England Under-21s – what a year 2019 is turning out to be for Ben Godfrey.

On Monday night, the 21-year-old had the honour of leading out his country against Kosovo at the KCOM Stadium – a place where just 10 months earlier he was an unused sub as City laboured to a 0-0 draw against Hull.

At that point in the 2018/19 season, Godfrey had been used sparingly by Daniel Farke – limited to just four substitute appearances in the league, three of which came in the dying minutes of matches.

Edward Seaman Across the Border: Norwich columnist (16483660)
Edward Seaman Across the Border: Norwich columnist (16483660)

Given that he had excelled while on loan at Shrewsbury the season before – as well as in League Cup appearances – the former York youngster must have been wondering whether his chance in a yellow shirt would arrive.

But as the old saying goes, patience is a virtue – and after another cameo from the bench against Rotherham, Godfrey was handed his first start against Bolton on December 8 as a result of an injury to Timm Klose.

While that game will be remembered for Teemu Pukki’s late heroics, for Godfrey it was the afternoon his City career got started.

Since then he is yet to miss a minute of league action for the Canaries, developing into a centre-back who performs with a maturity that belies his age and experience.

As I said with Tim Krul last week, Godfrey should be mightily pleased with his transition to Premier League life, despite the fact City have conceded 10 goals in their opening four games.

There is no doubt Godfrey is now one of the first names on Farke’s team sheet. And with Klose and Christoph Zimmermann both struggling with injuries, his role over the coming months is going to be vitally important.

The challenge for Godfrey is to continue to improve – and what better opposition to challenge himself against than Pep Guardiola’s Man City, arguably the best attacking team in the world right now.

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