21 Defender Tottenham Hotspur Wales
2014 has been...
In 2013, Welsh right-back Adam Matthews was a member of The 100. In short, we liked him and we liked what he could offer Wales down the right flank. Ben Davies is the equivalent on the left hand side; only much better.
That’s a somewhat clunky comparison of the two players but given that Chris Coleman has two of the United Kingdom’s most exciting full-backs at his disposal, he should feel pretty confident about ensuring Gareth Bale isn’t another of the world’s best players not to feature in a major international tournament.
Davies is a well-developed young footballer. Capable on the ball, consistent with his passing and happy to get forward, Ben is ahead of most young full-backs of the recent era in that he has a solid defensive grounding. His enthusiasm to get forward still gets him in trouble at times but it isn’t with the baffling consistency of others.
When the deal to take Davies and goalkeeper Michel Vorm to Tottenham Hotspur in exchange for Gylfi Sigurdsson and £3.5 million, it appeared as though Spurs had acquired a perfect upgrade on Danny Rose in the 21 year-old Davies.
However, it is only in the last few weeks that Ben has started to feature regularly in the Premier League thanks to a rib injury ruling out Rose out of the team. It was the English man that started the season as first choice under new manager Mauricio Pochettino with Davies restricted to Europa League appearances.
Thankfully his first few games in the Premier League with the London side have been solid as far as Davies is concerned. He’s not done anything majorly wrong and yet, he’s not made it impossible for Rose to immediately get his place back in the side. He’s in for a battle; but he came through one at Swansea City with Neil Taylor so he’ll be prepared to do it again at Tottenham.
Thanks to Tottenham Hotspur starting the season in four competitions and needing to work their way through the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, Davies hasn’t been thrown into the deep end with his recent splurge of Premier League action. He’s not as rusty as others may have been and that has helped him find a comfort with Spurs as he gets used to Pochettino’s preference for high-pressing, a big work rate and constant running.
His match fitness is improving with each game. All he needs to do in the coming weeks with league matches coming thick and fast is make his manager’s life difficult. Danny Rose was far from impressive last season in the Premier League but he succeeded in being Tim Sherwood and Andre Villas-Boas’ only natural option to play at left-back. Davies can become a key part of the Tottenham side, play regularly in the biggest competitions and prove himself to be Wales’ best option at left-back.
Gareth Bale has shown he much more of a consistent goal scorer than Ryan Giggs ever was in his career. Instead of needing someone to be on the end of Giggs’ good work down the left, the Welsh side can be based around getting Bale on the ball in areas where he can score goals. A full-back playing regularly in the Barclays Premier League and potentially the Champions League is exactly what Coleman’s young Wales side needs.
Davies can become as a key player for club and country in the next 12 months. For now, he needs to take advantage of Danny Rose’s injury. As cold as it may seem, he was able to take advantage of Neil Taylor’s horrible misfortune and become a regular for Swansea City. In much the same way, Danny’s time on the side-lines is the opening Ben needs to prove he can be the left-back that Pochettino requires. From there, it’ll be easy.
"A solid player, but that's a compliment. In the post Ashley Cole era defending is very underrated and, given time, Davies could easily rise to be one of the most accomplished full backs in Europe." - Jeff Livingstone
"Ben Davies' crossing accuracy in the Premier League last season (18.7%) was better than Leighton Baines (17.5%), Danny Rose (17.4%) and Mathieu Debuchy (15.6%)." - OptaJoe
C+ Make this step up really stick and then you can go again.
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