Everton defender Ben Godfrey told the Mirror (24/01, p67) he was rejected by Sheffield Wednesday as a schoolboy aged 15 as the two clubs are set to meet in the FA Cup.

Godfrey joined York City’s academy in 2014 before later moving to Norwich City in 2016.

The 23-year-old broke through at the Canaries, helping Daniel Farke’s side to promotion in 2018-19 before moving to Everton last summer with Norwich back in the Championship.

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The Toffees spent a reported £25 million to bring the defender to Goodison Park.

But it could have been so different for Godfrey as he shares the story of being snubbed by upcoming FA Cup fourth round opponents Sheffield Wednesday some eight years ago.

“It felt like I went to about 37 clubs on trial over a couple of years, but of all the places I went to, I thought that was one of the most successful ones. I played centre midfield and centre back there and I remember speaking to my dad after some sessions and saying ‘I did well there, I’ve trained well’. But at the end I was told I wasn’t any better than the ones they already had at my age, so I was let go. It was a big disappointment. I was told ’no’ by a few other clubs as well, but at Wednesday I thought I’d done well. It wasn’t meant to be in the end – and to be honest I would change that now. I’m happy with my journey,” Godfrey explained.

Wednesday aren’t the only Championship club to have turned Godfrey away, with Middlesbrough also listed as one of the former England U21 international’s clubs as a youth.

Godfrey’s rise has been spectacular. He joined Norwich from York City as an 18-year-old and only broke through at Norwich due to injuries to Grant Hanley and Timm Klose.

The 2018-19 campaign was his breakthrough season and that year Norwich remarkably won the Championship title ahead of Sheffield United and Leeds United.

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Wednesday, meanwhile, will regret passing up the chance to sign him.

The Owls haven’t had many players establish themselves as regulars from their academy over the past decade and it’s one area the club must work on in an era of financial restrictions.

Also see: Report: Owls table bid for most creative fullback in England, face Blackburn competition

Also see: ‘Strong, physical’: Carlo Ancelotti offers his opinion on Owls ahead of Everton clash

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