A feature on defender Ben Davies as he enjoys the best football of his career.
Ben Davies has enjoyed a fantastic start to the new season, with his form for club and country suggesting that this could be a defining campaign for the unassuming Swansea City youth product. Now 24, Davies has become one of the first names on Mauricio Pochittino’s Spurs team sheet, while he has also become an integral figure for Wales as they push for a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Ben Woodburn claimed the headlines for Wales in the recent qualifying victories over Austria and Moldova, but it was Davies who was once again at his marauding best in possession, and he is set to continue a long history of impressive Welsh influence at his London club. Over the years, players like Terry Medwin, Mel Hopkins, Terry Yorath and Mike England have worn both the cockerel and the dragon, but it is two of the best that Ben Davies appears to be following as he continues to create through his more attacking role on the left. Cliff Jones was a superstar of his era, and was one of the greatest ever for club and country.
Likewise, Gareth Bale came to international prominence with his performances for Spurs in the UEFA Champions League. Both players owned the left hand side of the field for Spurs and Wales, and Ben Davies is relishing his role in Pochittino’s revolution. Now genuine Premier League title challengers, despite their Wembley hoodoo, Davies has the freedom to show his creative qualities having been pushed further up the field, while his defensive maturity offers him the luxury of moving into the opposition half without concern.
His pin-point crossing has brought the best out of striker Harry Kane, and while he has more defensive responsibility for Wales, he showed against Moldova that he has all the attributes to become an impressive midfield play-maker. Like Bale, Davies seems destined to evolve away from his pigeon-holed position of left-back, and we are now seeing a new side to his game that is likely to make him a valuable commodity for Spurs.
— Ben Davies (@Ben_Davies33) August 13, 2017
Davies is a quiet and humble individual, and the bright lights of London have not changed him. Returning to his South Wales home when time allows, Davies still takes a keen interest in the fortunes of his local teams, and is currently President of Welsh League side Ynysygerwn FC. The occasional tweet shows he has more than a passing interest in a club where a number of childhood friends now play their football, and it his grounded approach to his personal and professional life that has enabled him to adapt so well to the pressure of playing for a club like Spurs.
But his quiet nature should not be considered a lack of confidence, as Davies retains a steely determination to succeed in the colours of both his club and his country. Coming through the youth ranks at Swansea City, Davies was handed his opportunity when a serious injury forced regular left-back Neil Taylor out of the side. Davies stepped-up to the mark with ease, and his performances were rewarded with international recognition as he also replaced Taylor in the Wales team in 2012.
— Ben Davies (@Ben_Davies33) November 5, 2016
Now with over 150 senior club appearances, and over 30 caps for his country, Davies hasn’t looked back since being handed his chance. “I think he was fantastic,” said Pochittino about Davies following last weekends victory over Everton. “Not only today but in the last three seasons from the day he arrived, on the bench, out of the squad or playing, he’s a great professional, a great player and a great man. Today he was top.”
But while Davies enjoys the best football of his career, just what does the future hold? Along with Aaron Ramsey, he was left frustrated at being suspended for Wales’ semi-final defeat to Portugal at UEFA EURO 2016, and he would love nothing more than to represent Wales at the World Cup next summer and make amends. However, it is his performances for Spurs that will attract attention from Europe’s best.
Bale become a superstar following his then word-record transfer to Real Madrid in 2013, and if Davies can continue to impress in his new attacking role, there is no reason why he cannot make a similar switch in the future. As a modern-day defender, he is that good, while his versatility offers another valuable element to his footballing arsenal. A dedicated, humble man, nobody deserves success more than Davies, and there is every reason to believe that this will be the season that takes him to the next level.