Ben Davies’ football education in Denmark, albeit brief, seems to have benefited the inform Welshman according to an article in The Telegraph.
When Ben was around 8, his dad Alun took a job with an engineering firm in a town called Viborg and off set the Davies clan on a Danish adventure.
The article says that while in Viborg, 8 year-old Ben joined the local academy, and so started an education in football that would teach him valuable lessons today.
Denmark is not known for its kind winters and thus Ben played a lot of indoor football with pristine artificial surfaces and an emphasis on control, passing and movement, ironically the hallmarks of the late Arthur Rowe’s methods.
The author attributes Ben to saying “It was a lot more technical and organised at that age,” . “At that level I also found that the quality was better. It’s something they should do more here.”
Davies returned to Wales at the age of 11, however the article says it is tempting to wonder whether he would have become the player he is or indeed a football player at all if he had instead spent those years in his rugby-focused Swansea primary school.
Watching Davies on Saturday reminded us that perhaps the craft and kill he learned in those early years in Denmark never quite left him.While Harry Kane got the kudos against Huddersfield Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Davies for his performance at the weekend and that his improvement has been fantastic.Three goals and three assists in his last nine matches are a testimony to that.
Pochettino enthused “For me, he is one of the best full-backs in the Premier League,” “The performance was fantastic. OK, Harry Kane, but Ben was also one of the best on the pitch in defending and attacking. His energy is fantastic.”
Davies has been quietly and unassumingly going about his game since he arrived from Swansea three years, improving each season.The article states his interviews are usually kind of dull.However I see him as a clever funny guy who comes across as very level headed. Any of the SpursTV stuff he has done are entertaining and he comes across well and seems very much appreciated by his colleagues.
Danny Rose has long been recognised as the first choice at left back, we don’t even have a song for Davies yet. The Welshman has however been building, maturing, sharpening to a point now where a soon to be fit again Rose will,in my opinion, find it difficult to oust Davies from the first team.
The article says they often talked about his capacity for learning at Swansea.He studied for his A-Levels while in the youth teams at Swansea and nowadays he can often be seen with his nose buried in a book while on the Tottenham team bus. He has an unwavering commitment to self-improvement which has been one of the constants in his career to date.
With Mauricio Pochettino, Davies has found the perfect coach to continue his football education,a coach who recognises that while players perform on a Saturday, they develop during the rest of the week.
The piece quotes Pochettino saying “He’s worked so hard to get to this moment,” “He’s always been professional, and that is why the club are so proud of him.”
The author Jonathan Liew goes on to say that Davies has shed fat and added muscle under the watchful eye of Poch and tactically, he has adapted his game to the demands of the wing-back role, becoming more clinical in the final third, finishing chances as well as creating.
With Danny Rose to return soon it’s not fully clear whether Davies will be sacrificed but it would be harsh on him and perhaps Rose’s hissyfit early on in the season has well and truly back fired on him.
Since Davies has been with us our win percentage with Rose in the team has been 44 per cent while with Davies – albeit featuring in less in “big games”- it is 66 per cent. Certainly it gives Poch food for thought.
The article concludes that the real moral to this story has a wider relevance,that football to often craves instant success stories and the demand for that “statement” signing,the “marquee” player,dogs the modern game.Liew ends the article with great idea that you can simply improve a player rather than signing a new one feels almost quaint these days.
What do we think about Davies this season. Improved and do you think Danny Rose will find it tough to dislodge Davies when he returns. Let us know your thoughts.
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