They are both very talented, aren’t they? Middlesbrough faces league leaders Norwich City this weekend and both sides able to boast promising, English centre-backs that both have the potential to go to the top.
It is becoming more frequent that we see youthful talents turned to over experience and age in the centre-back role, especially in the Championship. This weekend’s fixture will display that with Dael Fry and Ben Godfrey both set to start.
Both names have played pivotal roles in their sides charge for Championship promotion in what has been both Fry and Godfrey’s first full seasons in the second tier of English football.
Having both thoroughly impressed in recent times, let’s discuss who could go further…
Fry has been in and around the first-team scene at Boro for a while now. He has had stints in the senior side since the 2015/16 season, but it is only this season that he has nailed down a starting place consistently, throughout the campaign.
The 21-year-old has been a regular in England setups, being an established member of the under-21s now, so he can certainly hold his own in high-pressure scenarios. He displays maturity beyond his years, as well as a remarkable ability to read the game and time his tackles very well, so Fry will certainly go far.
TT Grade: B
Godfrey, who is valued at £3.15 million (by Transfermarkt), burst into consistent first-team football on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season. It was there, and for a lot of his youth career, he played as a holding midfielder. This season though, he has transitioned into the centre-back role and since Timm Klose’s injury, he has been a mainstay at the back, partnering Christoph Zimmermann in a solid defence.
The England under-20 international excels on the ball, driving forward into midfield with it and finding the right pass, reflected by his 88.5% pass completion rate, the current second highest in the League.
It is such ability that, according to The Sun, has meant that Manchester United will reportedly target the 21-year-old. There is no doubt that with Norwich City surely on their way up to the Premier League, Godfrey’s profile will only increase.
Fry has been able to perform at this level for a number of years now and has truly stepped up this campaign. He has proved himself at this level, but Tony Pulis’ system does not enable him to display himself as the complete defender that he could be.
Godfrey, on the other hand, may not be as adept defensively as of yet but he is provided with the freedom to express himself which gets the best out of him. Both defenders can expect to go far in the game, but if Godfrey is continued to be enabled such freedom in possession then it could be him that does take his game to the next level first.
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