When Canada international Alphonso Davies arrived at Bayern Munich from the Vancouver Whitecaps last summer, it was widely assumed that he would be part of the plan for the post Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery era.
While that strategy might not have changed in full, the Bavarians are looking to expand Davies’ role by using him as a left-back. Per a report from TZ, Davies will be focusing on cross-training regimen as both a wing-back and left-back.
Already in his last FC Bayern appearances of the season, the Canadian jewel covered the left-hand side of the defense in Kaiserslautern and at the Bodensee. In this way, the Munich team can kill two birds with one stone: on the one hand, you can generate more playing practice for the youngster, which is important for his development. On the other, despite Rafinha’s departure, there is a backup for David Alaba again.
Davies has experience playing as a left-back in MLS and should be able to handle the new strategy with aplomb as he continues his development.
If there is any thought that reigning left-back extraordinaire David Alaba might be put off by a younger player being moved to compete with Austria international, it can be quickly squelched. Like we have heard many times, Alaba acts as a mentor to several young players on Säbener Strasse, including Davies. The 18-year-old detailed in an Instagram story that he has a great relationship with the 26-year-old veteran:
When me and David were in sauna together, he gave me a very important tip. He told me, when it’s time for party, live your life and have fun, when it’s time to hang out, hang out with your friends, but when the season starts, training is coming, get on with your work and give your best on the field. He is a really good buddy of mine.
Davies has already earned the respect of Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic, who heaped some praise on the youngster after Bayern II clinched its recent promotion to 3.Liga:
Phonzy is a machine! I’m very proud of him. There is no vanity in his game. It’s not easy for him, because he has already played in the Bundesliga. He helped the club. And you have to reward that. My compliments! It’s exactly guys like this that you need, guys who sacrifice themselves for the club. That’s Phonzy, a great guy. He’ll make it up there, too. I am sure of that!
The move to find a way to better utilize Davies is not shocking by any means, but how he slots into the roster will be interesting. In addition to Alaba, Bayern acquired Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, who can play both left back and center back.
Should Davies make a permanent change to left back, it would represent a shift in philosophy on where most thought Davies’ career progression was headed — but that does not appear to be the end goal for this move. Clearly, Niko Kovac is a huge fan of having versatile, flexible players and Davies’ ability to be used at both positions should enhance his value on the squad.
At his age and with his skill-set, this is one exercise that should help enhance Davies’ value internally and also on the market. The more acclimated Davies can become with seamlessly shifting between the two positions, the more flexibility he can give Bayern as a team and himself for his future.