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Niko Kovac says Alphonso Davies needs more time to integrate at Bayern Munich

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We needn’t worry that the Phonsie was temporarily dropped from Bayern’s first team.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 02: head coach Niko Kovac of Bayern Muenchen speaks with Alphonso Davies of Bayern Muenchen during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern Muenchen at BayArena on February 2, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 02: head coach Niko Kovac of Bayern Muenchen speaks with Alphonso Davies of Bayern Muenchen during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern Muenchen at BayArena on February 2, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany.
(Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

Alphonso Davies was dropped from Bayern Munich’s first team after their 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin. Subsequently, the 18-year-old Canadian was sent to play with Bayern’s U23 reserves against Ingolstadt II. Although Davies thus wasn’t in the match day squad for Bayern’s 3-2 win over Augsburg the week prior, he was present for all of Bayern’s matches in 2019 and made cameos against VfB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, and Schalke in the Bundesliga.

After the win over Berlin, ProSoccer USA tried to speak with Davies in the mixed zone, but the youngster declined to speak with the press. Head coach Niko Kovac, however, spoke with the MLS-based outlet. Despite the fact that Davies was being sent to play with the reserves, Kovac said Davies is still on the right path but needs more time to integrate into the club. Kovac said,

He is a very young good player, who has shown his skills in America. He is now at FC Bayern Munich and has to be integrated, which can take time at a big club, but he is on a positive path.

Regarding the substitutions he was forced to make — where he opted to bring on Thomas Müller for the injured Kingsley Coman, who himself had replaced Franck Ribery — Kovac said that he had made the moves to secure the three points, but that it was a “tight” decision that essentially prevented Davies from seeing playing time:

We won the game; that is the only thing that matters. Games are tight, and those that make the last mistake [sic — least mistakes?] win the game.

Kovac also said that he’s not worried at all about Davies’s development, and that he fully expects him to take time to adapt to the pace and verve of the Bundesliga. It can be difficult to monitor the individual progress of a younger, newer player closely, especially in light of such a tight race for the top spot with Borussia Dortmund:

That isn’t just the case here, but it is probably the same at any other Bundesliga club. We have to give the boy some time. You have to be patient with young players. Look at Renato Sanches, he is a Portuguese national team player and he is not playing a lot either. We can’t expect from young players that they shake out a storm. Footballing-wise, [Davies] is developing. But this is Bayern Munich. and it isn’t always easy right away to make an impact as a young player.

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic also chimed in, saying that it’s difficult to keep all of the players in the squad happy with how much talent they have, but that everyone will get their chance to shine at one point or another over the season. Salihamidzic said,

There are many good players. It will always be difficult to keep everyone happy. Bayern are going to play over 50 games this season and everyone will get their minutes. Ultimately, the coach can only select 11 players. We have 18-19 players plus three goalkeepers, it is perhaps interesting for the press when certain players don’t play.

On the plus side, Davies played all 90 minutes in Bayern II’s 3-0 win over Ingolstadt II this past weekend and almost provided an assist to Kwasi Wriedt, but the striker scoffed his close range effort. As long as Davies continues to get solid minutes under his belt with the reserves, there should be no reason why he isn’t eventually recalled to the first team before the season ends, assuming he stays fully fit and healthy.

More nutmegs soon to come!