DO not lose sight of where you want to be - and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

This is the message of former York City centre-back Ben Godfrey to aspiring young footballers, who can take inspiration from Godfrey’s upwards career trajectory.

York-born Godfrey began his footballing journey with the York & District Schoolboys before coming through the ranks at Bootham Crescent, where he made 12 first-team appearances before being snapped up by Norwich City.

He got his first taste of Premier League football with the Canaries in the 2019/20 season, and is now back in English football’s top flight with Everton.

It has been an impressive ascent for the 22-year-old, and the stuff of dreams for youngsters having a kickabout in the playground or with their youth team.

Asked what his words of advice would be to young players, Godfrey said: “To put it simply - practise, and enjoy it.

“I think a lot of kids - and dads as well - can get sucked into taking football too seriously.

“I think you’ve got to have that balance between having that end goal and enjoying football with your friends on a weekend.

“If you enjoy practising and do it regularly, that’s important for them steps of making it as a professional footballer.

“You’ve got to play it with a smile on your face, for sure.”

And Godfrey's current situation may be the triumph of his philosophy. Indeed, whatever the star has done, it has worked. But could he always see himself reaching these heights?

He said: “It’s not a shout of arrogance like where you know you’re going to make it, but when you’re working hard, you have to have that goal of getting to this level.

“Every young boy goes on the street and pretends to be the Premier League stars of the world.

“That’s who me and my dad used to watch, who we tried to do things similar to and learn from.

“That’s just what I wanted to do, even from playing for Schoolboys, and I worked hard at trying to give myself the best chance possible."

Godfrey has made five appearances for Everton this season, and could turn out again tonight at Leicester City after impressing against Burnley and Chelsea.

He received a baptism of fire in the Merseyside derby, coming on for his debut in place of injured skipper Seamus Coleman after half an hour.

In Saturday's 1-0 win over Chelsea, he demonstrated his defensive versatility by starring on the left of a back four composed - by necessity - of four central defenders, drawing acclaim from fans and pundits alike.

Though a centre-back by trade, Godfrey can clearly turn his hand to other positions - and insists he will give his all wherever he plays.

“I’ve played more games at centre-back than right-back," he explained. The last few seasons, I played at centre-back for Norwich and England.

“I made two or three appearances for Norwich at right-back when I was breaking through as a really young lad before I went on loan. You know the basics.

“I’m not going to be bombing up and down, throwing stepovers in and whipping balls into the box every five minutes but it’s one of those where, if the manager says he wants me in a certain position, I’m a player who will give 110 per cent and try and do my best for the boys, whether that’s at centre-back, left-back, right-back or in goal.”