From: Watford FC Academy
Record: Played: 0(1) Scored: 0
To: ??? - free transfer - May 2004
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: Canada's star player
I think you can generally tell whether a young player is going to make it or not. The obvious indicator is whether the player is making first team appearances. But it's not as black and white as that. Some, like Wayne Andrews or (potentially) Gary Fisken, will do all right for a while before finding a more natural level in Division Two or Three. Others - Paul Robinson being a prominent example - will firmly establish themselves in the first team squad. But it was pretty clear that Elliott Godfrey would be neither the former, nor the latter.
That's not to say Godfrey didn't have talent. In my annual trip to Southampton's training ground to view the reserves, he impressed me, possessing a neat touch and good positional sense. There was one exception - a 6-0 thrashing in the Vialli season where the Italian maestro had given Ray a team with the average age of five. But the other two times, he was solid.
Yes, Elliott was a reserve team fixture for the past three years. But even in the team's Championship season anyone with a passing interest in Watford's second string couldn't help but notice he didn't score much. I actually thought he'd be better in midfield.
So the first team never came a-knockin'. The stronger Jason Norville and the faster Hameur Bouazza both got the call ahead of him. In a tough division, there's not much need for a diminutive striker whose only real asset is that he can control the ball well.
His one first team appearance came in March 2003. Five days before the FA Cup Semi-Final, Watford had a midweek game with Preston. Not wanting to risk injuries, Ray fielded a deliberately weakened team. Godfrey found himself on the bench, not even able to make it into this poor side. In a dire game, only memorable for Sean Dyche's assault on the Preston keeper, Elliot came on for Stephen Glass with four minutes to go.
Just four minutes. Mind you, he did play for the Canadian Under-21s quite a lot, which is like being a Champion Sheep-Dipper. In football terms, not very exciting.
Elliott Godfrey was just another footballer who didn't quite make the grade. You will forget him. Still, one has to hope he becomes a Wayne Andrews, rather than a Robert Calderhead.