Danny Rose may well have gone into this season confident that he had become Tottenham’s undisputed first choice left-back, but Ben Davies has now begun to provide stiff competition.
Davies, who signed from Swansea in the summer of 2014 in a deal that saw Gylfi Sigurdsson going the other way, has started two of his side's last four games in the Premier League.
The 22-year-old is now benefiting from the same learning process as Rose was able to enjoy when he joined the club from Leeds, at first playing second fiddle to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
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Five years on from his sensational debut strike against Arsenal, Rose has found himself in and out of the team, though last season he appeared to be Mauricio Pochettino’s preferred option. Where injury intervened, however, Davies has proven himself ready to take his chance.
The Welsh national has slowly crept into contention thanks to his performances in cup competitions, and it is now Rose’s job to oust Davies, and not necessarily the other way round.
Rose has previously been linked with a move to Manchester City or champions Chelsea, but he is more than capable of staying at White Hart Lane and retaining his starting spot, as well as pushing for a place in England's Euro 2016 starting XI.
To his advantage, he is stronger going forward than Davies. Rose is more inclined to race down the wing and put balls into the box, whereas Davies – perhaps understandably considering his shaky start to his Spurs career last season – has focused purely on his defensive game.
That has seen him develop into perhaps the more solid defender, but considering that with Harry Kane often up front on his own in a 4-5-1, Spurs are looking for goals from all over the pitch, Rose can offer more in that department, having hit four last season.
Davies may have impressed with his accurate crosses, but given that he cannot compete with Rose in terms of pace, he will have to be tremendously consistent to ensure that he is not replaced by the English defender.
It is quite possible that Pochettino has simply experimented with Davies while Rose has been out injured, in which case he will now most likely revert to his preferred XI featuring the latter, which is what he has done in the last couple of games.
However, Davies has certainly made the decision all the more difficult.
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