Although Ben Davies isn’t quite as eye-catching and explosive as Tottenham Hotspur’s first choice left-back/left wingback in Danny Rose, he’s proven himself to be a brilliant deputy in Rose’s injury absence.
Having now featured for 14 consecutive matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s energetic outfit, the Welshman has shown what a reliable, effective and dynamic operator he can be when afforded an extended opportunity at the highest level.
Davies’ form has been so impressive that Spurs even offered him a new four-year deal at the start of March, which he duly signed, before going on to explain how much he’s loving his football at the North London club. “It’s a fantastic club to be a part of at the moment and the way we’re working on the training pitch and the way we’re playing the games you can only see it getting better really,” he gleamed.
“Since the gaffer came to the club he has taken us from strength to strength and as a team I think it’s showing on the pitch.”
Pochettino then went onto praise the ever improving, resilient 23-year-old, explaining: “He is a fantastic professional and boy. Only I can praise him because his position wasn’t easy from the beginning, but he kept fighting, always waiting for his opportunity to play.
“He fully deserves to improve his contract and salary because, when we are talking about the team and the squad, this player deserves all the credit to keep fighting to keep up the level of the squad.”
With Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen, Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen also committing themselves to Spurs by extending their contracts, it’s clear Davies is seen as a vital component in Tottenham’s exciting future.
To focus on his on-field contributions, in particular, and Davies output has been nothing short of exceptional.
Defensively resolute and full of intensity, the former Swansea sensation has shown his stopping qualities in spades. He’s decision making has been crucial in his effectiveness, for he’s made well calculated judgements on when to mark the opposition fullback or winger, depending on their formation, and when to support his central defenders from his left wingback post. Communicating coherently with his colleagues has also been an important factor, but, nonetheless, in the fast paced Premier League showing such conviction, plus being so proactive, has allowed him to fulfill his defensive duties with great success.
If ever Spurs are defending deep and getting pushed back, he, alongside his corresponding wing back on the right, will push back and form a back five to ensure Spurs’ three central defenders have additional security. This works well, giving the centre-backs a stronger platform to follow their marker tightly upfield unhindered, knowing one of their partners from the backline will be able to cover the space they’ve just vacated.
The fact he’s so dogged in his pressing and counterpressing efforts only serve to amplify his worth on this side of the game.
Meanwhile, on the attacking end, the Wales international has illustrated his thoughtful movement and technical proficiency in abundance. A fine dribbler, who’s capable of whipping in a wicked cross or cutback, Davies never misses an opportunity to burst forward and join in attacks. But what makes his excursions upfield especially damaging is the way he alternates his runs so intelligently.
Whether embarking on underlapping inside runs or overlapping runs down the flank, Davies’ excellent reading of the play enables him to make ideal movements in relation to where the ball and his teammates are located. His supporting infield runs are of huge assistance to the the likes of Alli, Eriksen, Mousa Dembele, Kane and Son Heung-min to guarantee they have viable options to connect Spurs’ attacking passages through.
Moreover, when he’s hugging the touchline, he presents as a fine option for a long diagonal switch, which puts him into outstanding scenarios to isolate himself 1v1 vs his direct opponent. The way Vertonghen or Victor Wanyama will cover in behind Davies when he motors upfield, from their left centre-back and defensive midfield roles, vitally ensures structural security for Spurs in the event of a turnover.
Davies comments on his newfound attacking impetus give an interesting insight into his perception of his role. “Of course. It’s part and parcel of the position, trying to get forward and trying to help the team score goals. That’s what you want to be part of at the end of the day,” he explained.
“I’ve always said that defending is first and foremost for me but it’s a nice little change. It’s a lot of running. You do see it a lot (the ball) and it’s hard work but it’s great and I certainly can’t complain.”
With Rose yet to return to training, Davies looks set to continue his run in the first-team for at least until the start of May. Even though many believed he wasn’t capable of replacing the talented Rose, Davies has quickly gone about demonstrating he’s more than able to fill in for the English international.
Although Davies has had his doubters, his remarkable form has proven emphatically that he’s certainly no discernible downgrade on Rose on the left side of Tottenham’s backline.
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