In the wake of Alphonso Davies’ last game with the Vancouver Whitecaps, pretty much every Bayern Munich fan cannot wait to see the Canadian youngster in Bavarian red. Bayern are in desperate need of wingers at the moment, and a young, fast 17 (soon to be 18) year old is exactly what this team needs.
However, in most of the discussions surrounding the player on the internet, some questions have been seldom asked. We usually focus on the strengths of a player, what would make him a good fit for the club, etc. However, we rarely ask about more mundane things that could end up being far more important — questions such as his overall fitness, the weaknesses that remain in his game, his work ethic.
To that end, we here at Bavarian Football Works got together with AtlantisB of Eighty Six Forever, SB Nation’s home of all things Whitecap-related, to answer a few questions. Here’s what he told us:
1. We know all about Davies’ strengths, but what about his weaknesses? What are the weakest aspects of his game that need to improve? More specifically, how is his decision-making?
I know this will sound biased, but Davies does not have any glaring weaknesses. That is not to say that he is the best player in football. Rather that he is well-rounded for a 17-year-old and just needs to continue to improve and grow; which is why Bayern is a great place for him.
While Davies is fast, he doesn’t rely on his speed to be effective. He is strong with both feet, setting an MLS record for most dribbles in a season. Despite often being double and triple teamed, he was disposed only 1.5 times per match. For comparison, the other top 10 dribblers in MLS averaged 2.18 dispossessions. I think that he will flourish with Bayern because he can’t be double and triple teamed with the weapons you have all over the field.
If Bayern plays Davies at left back, which Vancouver and the Canadian National Team did from time to time this season, he will have to work on defensive positioning. No surprise, an offensive player is not the best defender. Having said that, it isn’t like he is a poor defender. He is a superb two-way player. He was often the first player back, fighting to get the ball back; especially when he lost it!
Of course, he needs to continue to work on his decision-making, but I have seen HUGE advances in that this season. For example, in his final 17 starts, he scored seven of his eight goals, and eight of his 11 assists. Translation, as the season progressed, he learned better when to shoot and when to pass. I believe that the game REALLY slowed down for him.
2. How is his stamina and fitness? Are there any injury problems that we should know about? Any little niggles, recurring problems?
His stamina and fitness are great. Last year, he really broke down for the final few months of the season, despite only playing 1,053 minutes. I believe that was from mental exhaustion though, not physical. He had a lot of weight placed on him. Therefore, I am a BIT concerned about how he does for you this season, as he has been playing since last January. He led the Whitecaps in minutes played this season with 2,420.
In addition, the travel in MLS is BRUTAL. In fact, Vancouver travels the most out of any MLS team, given that they are in the north-western corner of North American teams. He also played multiple times with the Canadian National Team. That means that come January, when he can suit up for you, he will have been playing for a year straight already.
However, he is 18 and will be looking to impress, so he might be able to find the stamina. Just don’t throw him under the bus if he fails to perform in his first few matches. Remember that he has been playing in a leading role for a year. That is tiring. You will probably be able to really start evaluating him next season.
3. What’s his attitude like off the pitch? How would he react to a long layoff, or a period on the bench? Has he ever been known to cheat his training regimen, diet, etc.?
His attitude is GREAT! Last year he was still in high school and therefore he had different rules than the other players. His mother required that he did well in school and that he got his homework done. If he was doing poorly in school, he was to be benched. It is a cute story, but also speaks to his values and work ethic. He has always worked hard. There was a video that came out on twitter of him breaking the beep record at his academy. Here it is:
As Alphonso gets ready to play his last game in North America, this rare footage of him at 14 years old in grade 9 breaking our academy beep test record shows what kind of work ethic and drive he has. #FarewellPhonzie pic.twitter.com/Ip2ND3V5IE— Marco Bossio (@bossio10) October 27, 2018
He has always worked hard and has been benched several times and come back from it. He was raised with manners and humility. He has NEVER ONCE shown any ego and has constantly put his team before himself. He is a truly classy young man who will be a leader for your team in the future.