There’s been a little bit of talk about the future of Ben Godfrey of late and the EDP are running with a story regarding young Ben, this morning.
The crux of it is that Paddy Davitt has asked Daniel Farke about Ben’s future and where it lies. It seems that there’s no doubt that Ben will be an accomplished Championship operator at some point, it’s just not clear if that will be this season or not.
Godfrey has three years left on the contract he signed just last summer but there is speculation that he may be offered another new deal this summer, as reported yesterday. You can read about that here.
If that does happen, it suggests to me that the club think he is a big part of their plans going forward and want to keep him, use him and ultimately protect him as an investment. That might sound a little cold but it’s how the club will have to operate in the Championship, always with one eye on the next big sale.
The interesting thing about Godfrey is that he can play in several different positions. He can play as a defensive midfielder, which is where he won lots of praise playing for Shrewsbury last season, centre back and he can also do a job at right back.
That’s what Daniel Farke alluded to when he spoke to the EDP’s Paddy Davitt, you can read that article here.
“It was important for me to see him in different positions. He had one or two good performances in the holding midfielder positions, which perhaps is the position we associate him with, but I was also pretty, pretty pleased with him in the central defensive position against FC Union Berlin.”
”He played 90 minutes at centre back and it is vital he can play in this position because physically he can win his battles in the air, he is cool with the ball at his feet and competitive in the duels. He is always awake in tactical things.”
On the German trip, Norwich have used 4-1-4-1 fairly often but have also mixed it up with a bit of 3-5-2 as well. There will clearly be competition for the holding midfield role(s) but if we were to play three at the back then we’ll need more than three centre backs in the squad.
Grant Hanley, Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann are the main men back there with only Sean Raggett in reserve. Raggett has made a big jump up in class in a very short space of time from non-League to League Two and then, potentially to the Championship.
He has barely appeared for the Canaries so far and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him visiting the office of Loans Manager, Neil Adams in the very near future to discuss plans for next season.
If that happens then I can certainly see a case for using Godfrey in the squad for the forthcoming season as cover for these various positions and potentially to make one of them his own.
It is obvious that Farke will need to trim his squad down a little to keep everybody happy but that is part of pre-season and this type of (German) trip. Who looks the part? Who fits in well with the tactics and type of play Farke wants? Who isn’t quite ready?
Having determined these things, the club will then look to place some of the lads on loan deals that will further their development, although that will always be with one eye on the future.
Farke used 4-1-4-1 extensively when he was in charge of Borussia Dortmund II, so it’s no surprise that he wants to use it again. His philosophy of keeping the ball and being the main protagonist is suited to it but there is also a growing fondness among Europe’s coaches for the 3-5-2 formation as well, as recently seen at the World Cup.
That formation requires energetic wing backs and Farke does have options at his disposal to fit that mould. Felix Passlack and Jamal Lewis would, I assume, be the first that Farke would turn to for right and left wingbacks.
If I’m honest, that excites me more than the thought of 4-1-4-1, predominantly because it also gives two strikers a place and now that we have Teemu Pukki, he looks well suited for a slightly withdrawn striker role alongside Jordan Rhodes.
3-5-2 does require, or certainly work better, if you have ball playing centre backs as your three defenders. If you put Hanley in the centre with his pace, Klose on the left and then Godfrey or Zimmermann on the right, that does seem to fit.
Ultimately, only Daniel Farke and his coaches know what they have in mind for the upcoming season and how they will look to play. One thing seems certain though, the squad is in a much better place then it was last August, in terms of round pegs for round holes.