At just 19 years of age, Ben Davies became a regular starter for Swansea City. After Neil Taylor's horrific ankle injury, Davies took the reigns at 19 and never looked back.
He impressed his bosses and in return has started all but 11 Premier League games in the last two years. Although not as young or celebrated as Luke Shaw, he is right now the even more solid player in the defensive half.
Tottenham has regularly employed the strategy of having their fullbacks make runs in order to support wingers. However, last season the vulnerability created by that strategy was thrust into the spotlight. Danny Rose, the regular Spurs' left back last year, was caught out of position time and time again.
The former left midfielder would go into attack, deliver a poor ball, and then not return to his position fast enough. Opposing attackers could then run around the central defenders with pace alone.
Davies: Disciplined defender
Davies does not have this same problem. He is very disciplined, knows where to be, and does not commit to runs he cannot recover from. Although the Welshman is very capable of delivering a good cross, he does so from further from the touchline than Rose did.
Rose would go to the touchline while Davies would remain behind the attacking line ordinarily. He would use his precision to deliver an accurate cross, leading to his great passing stats. Although he only had one assist, he averaged 0.9 key passes per game and delivered 0.6 accurate crosses as well.
Davies also passed at an extremely high percentage (84.3%) in 34 Premier League games for the Swans and showed great control while on the ball. However, the north London club wants improvement at the position for defence more than anything else.
Davies: Superior to Rose
Davies is the far superior defender to Rose, despite being three years younger. Rose has noticeably great games on occasion, leading to two Man of the Match awards from Whoscored.com compared to none for Davies.
However, this is due to Rose's willingness to go all out in attack. Defence wins games, but not individual awards. Davies was one of the strongest players in Swansea's defence, and was rarely caught out of position. Although he is not the fastest left back (he was dribbled past 54 times), he is a strong tackler and rarely mistimes his challenges. He has great discipline and knows when and how to go in, fouling opponents only 0.7 times per game while having a tackle to foul ratio of over 3.1.
Rose is a talented footballer. However, this is masked frequently by a lack of effort and poor decision making. Not only is Davies the better player, but he has neither of these problems. The 21-year-old Davies is well aware of his weaknesses, like size and pace, and is able to make up for them with smart play and great positioning.
Tottenham have signed a gem
His talent shines through on both sides of the pitch, whether he is delivering a quality cross or stuck one on one on the outside. Tottenham will look forward to having a player of Davies' quality and age, and his efficiency, discipline, and precision will seal the most glaring hole in the Spurs' defence.
Playing with Vertonghen on the left side will lock down that side of the field. With Walker on the other side, now Tottenham must turn their attention to a right-footed center back like Lovren or Vlaar who is strong in the tackle and has more pace than Michael Dawson. With Davies, however, the White Hart Lane faithful have one less position to worry about.
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