It’s fair to say Alphonso Davies has been through his fair share of adversity in life. Born in a displacement camp for those affected by the war in Liberia, and then resettling in North America at a young age. It hasn’t been a easy ride for him. But the Bayern Munich talent should serve as an example to all aspiring ballers out there.
“It was hard to live because the only way you survive sometimes is you have to carry guns”Alphonso’s father, Debeah, described what life was like in Liberia
Within football, the mental aspect, in regards to mental strength, is often overlooked. Managers are so focused on the technical and physical side of the game, this often transpires in success. When the Bavarians were scouting Alphonso Davies, his past inevitably was highlighted. Perhaps it was what convinced the perennial German champions to go after the Canadian.
The rags to riches story
Debeah, Alphonso and the rest of the family were able to move to Edmonton, Canada after their stint in a displacement camp in Ghana. Whilst his parents were making ends meet, he was helping raise his two younger siblings. Humble beginnings for now a talent who’s sky is the limit.
A talented sportsman, Alphonso realistically could’ve tried his hand at any North American sport, and gone far in it. Comments from his coaches when he was a young boy help you realise how much they were in awe of this young boy, who had been through so much in life.
At the age of 14, he was recruited by Vancouver Whitecaps, in the MLS. By the age of 15 years, the youngest player to ever feature in the MLS. By 16, he was the first player born in the 21st century, to score at an international tournament. A brace against French Guiana. After the 2018 campaign with the Whitecaps in which he scored 8 goals and produced 9 assists in 27 starts, he was acquired by the Bavarian giants. Finally Davies was bearing the fruits of his hard work, and not just on the pitch.
Alphonso Davies – Style of Play
If I had to give you one match to watch in order to understand Alphonso Davies in this Bayern Munich team, watch this season’s Der Klassiker. After that game, Alphonso would’ve found his keys, some sweets and Jadon Sancho in his back pocket. He won 74% of his tackles and managed to nullify one of Europe’s brightest talents. The 19 year old made more sprints than anyone else, notched the top speed in the game of 34.2 KM/H. All whilst playing in the ‘unfamiliar’ role of left back. A position he’s managed to thrive in so far.
When playing for the Canadian national team, he is given much more freedom to play in his more natural position: out on the left wing. There, he can wreck havoc with his physical frame. Not many full-backs are able to match his strength and pace.
Combine this with natural finesse when on the ball, he reminds me a lot of the man he is looking to oust, David Alaba. No doubt, Alphonso will be learning and studying David’s every move. The Austrian is a perfect role model for him to have, even if the former Vancouver Whitecaps winger doesn’t see his career at LB in the long-term. He’s managed 1 goal and 4 assists in 19 appearances from left back this season.
An impressive return for someone still so new to the role. Averaging 1.2 key passes per game in the Bundesliga, Davies is so exciting to watch going forward. You can tell he wants to play on the wing with his attacking output and the impact he has on the game. But even with his preferred position, the Canadian international has proven his worth defensively. Averaging a staggering 2.4 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game in the German top flight, he is without doubt a disciplined defender too. The complete package as a left back.
The future is bright
Today, the left back’s dynamic performance against Chelsea in the Round of 16 away leg at Stamford Bridge reinforces all the hype and praise he’s been heaped with this season. An incredible display from a 19 year old star in the making. Disciplined defensively, giving no room or breathing space for the likes of Mason Mount. But also offensively wow, he is RAPID.
Multiple times in the game, Davies made terrific runs down the left hand side. The sheer elegance but also pace he skipped past the Blues’ defenders was a joy to watch. He made Reece James, who himself is so highly rated, look like an amateur at the back. A great assist for the 3rd goal alongside his defensive pedigree, what a player he has the potential to be. Already performing brilliantly on the big stage.
“To be honest, I was just trying to play for fun, to keep myself active and keep myself out of trouble…I didn’t think I was really good, I was just playing the game because I enjoyed playing it with my friends.”Alphonso Davies on his rise to prominence
When all is said and done, I think Alphonso Davies will be a household name. The boy seems to have the essentials for success. Determination, humility, hunger, the list could go on. As a neutral, I hope he succeeds considering how he’s had to struggle. As I mentioned earlier, it serves as an inspiration to any young aspiring footballers that perhaps don’t have it easy. You can make it, with talent and hard work.
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