Everton defender Ben Godfrey has sustained a serious injury after tackling Kai Havertz in their Premier League opener against Chelsea at Goodison Park.
After Godfrey delivered a botched back pass to Jordan Pickford that appeared to go out of play, the Everton goalkeeper scrambled to keep the ball in inadvertently allowing Chelsea’s Kai Havertz to pick up the ball in a dangerous position.
Godfrey scrambled back to tackle Havertz, but in doing so landed awkwardly on his planted foot and sustained a serious injury to his right ankle.
The seriousness of Godfrey’s injury was immediately apparent, and the former Norwich defender was escorted off the pitch on a stretcher with Mason Holgate subbed on to replace him.
Everton boss Frank Lampard provided an update on his defender’s injury after the game:
‘It’s a small fracture of his fibula bone. We are thinking two or three months, that is a really quick assessment.’
The Toffees’ injury woes continued later in the game, when Yerry Mina was also deemed unable to continue in the second half and replaced with Ruben Vinagre.
In the aftermath of the incident, fans took to social media to question why Pickford hadn’t signaled to officials that the ball had gone out of play.
User @cabbo1970 remarked: ‘Pickford must feel sick kicking the ball back into play …… poor Godfrey … good kid that’
Another user criticised the Everton defence: ‘It’s the usual suspects. Pickford will mask his errors with a couple of good saves but constantly making stupid decisions. Godfrey, I just don’t think he has done anything in CB to show us he is good enough to be starting.’
@oseiebenez also faulted the England goalkeeper’s decision making: ‘Pickford has a decision making problem and it’s about time he sorts it out.’
Twitter user @johnproc57, slammed Godfrey for his play in the leadup to the collision: ‘I think he just about got the ball. Reckless challenge though, went through him. If Pickford had signalled it had gone out, his mate would still be on the pitch.’
Another user laid blame with the officials for failing to flag for a corner when the ball initially went out of play: ‘Godfrey’s injury could have been avoided if the linesman had flagged for a ball that was about half a mile out of play.’
Though the full extent of Godfrey’s injury is not currently known, Rob Schofield confirmed that the defender has been rushed to Aintree Hospital to be assessed: ‘Everton have told me that Ben Godfrey has a serious lower leg injury and has been taken straight to Aintree Hospital to be assessed.’