Cartilage Free Captain continues its series reviewing the players of Tottenham Hotspur and how they performed in the 2015-16 Premier League season. Today's subject: Wales left-back Ben Davies.
Appearances: 27 (17 PL, 2 FA, 8 Europa)
Cards: 3 Yellow Cards
What went right?
With two less appearances than the 2014-15 season overall, but three more in the Premier League, Ben Davies' second season with the club wasn't too dissimilar from his first. This is neither earth-shatteringly good or bad. If one is feeling optimistic than the greatest accomplishment shown from Ben Davies this season is that his sample size of play at the left-back position is large enough to determine that he is a dependable back-up for an upper-echelon Premier League club.
Ben Davies hasn't had too many dazzling performances for Tottenham Hotspur, but he has shown himself to be steady and conservative when on the pitch. While he garnered two assists this year, his pinpoint accuracy in service from the left flank, of which he was touted for when he transferred from Swansea, hasn't really come to fruition. Yet it hasn't been terrible either. There were moments throughout the season where Davies brought a lot of positives to the attack from his wide play.
Davies is reliable in his ability to pick the right times to go forward and rarely find himself in a vulnerable position. Davies also hasn't been reckless. Three yellow cards in seventeen Premier League appearances isn't a flawless record, but it isn't a dangerous one either. He is a footballer who supporters can trust to keep their head.
What went wrong?
Ben Davies never even gave the illusion that he would push Danny Rose for the starting left-back spot and that has to be his biggest disappointment of the season for him. While Danny Rose was lauded for his fine play in the 2014-15 campaign (this author included!), some felt that the left-back job was, in fact, better suited for the more stable Davies. Give the Welshman a shot and the club will find better service and more competent defending from the position some said. Well, that theory was tested early on as Danny Rose missed a few games with niggling injuries at the start of the term.
What Ben Davies provided was consistently average, if unspectacular play. His defending, while decent, isn't lock-down, nor is his positioning or service. See none of these things are *actually* terrible, but none of them deserve plaudits either. Add this to his below average athleticism and Ben Davies had another unremarkable season at Tottenham Hotspur.
If you are Ben Davies you might feel that there are questions about your future coming into the 2016-17 campaign that need to be answered. If you are supporter of the club, you are hoping that the obvious answers to those questions aren't that obvious to him. Ben Davies is a perfect back-up for Tottenham Hotspur. He isn't a guy who you'd like to see play regularly, but he is a wonderful option to come off the bench for a few weeks here and there if Danny Rose picks up a knock. He also has enough quality to be a legitimate rotation option for the Premier League when Spurs have a midweek Champion's League fixture. He is an even better choice when domestic cup ties are presented as well. Davies' competency allows Spurs to be content with their left-back options. Let's hope that his morale and commitment to the club stays high in this second fiddle role.