It’s been two years since Canada’s Alphonso Davies officially became a Bayern Munich player. In that time, he has developed into a truly world-class talent.
The Canadian joined Bayern in January 2019, having already made history as Major League Soccer’s first millennial aged 15, and Canada’s greenest debutant and goalscorer at 16.
He graced the Bundesliga for the first time within a month of linking up with the record champions, opened his German top-flight account soon after – becoming his new club’s youngest marksman in almost two decades – and ended his five-month induction with league and DFB Cup winner’s medals around his neck.
Happier days followed in 2019/20 as the cameos gave way to star turns on all fronts.
With six Bundesliga appearances under his belt heading into his first full campaign on German soil, Davies was 43 first-team outings better off by the end of it.
Of the 36 in all competitions overseen by head coach Hansi Flick between 9 November 2019 and 23 August 2020, he missed only one through suspension, whilst starting 34 – at left-back.
As well as producing three goals and nine assists for the all-conquering treble winners, the electric Edmontonian clocked the Bundesliga’s fastest sprint speed (22.7mph/ 36.53 kmph); claimed the Rookie of the Season Award; and became the first Canada international to win the UEFA Champions League – taking Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo to school with a meme-tastic piece of skill along the way.
Capping a sensational second year at Bayern, Davies was also voted into the 2020 FIFA FifPro Best 11 alongside club-mates Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski, and scooped the Canadian Soccer Player and Athlete of the Year awards.
“It’s been a fantastic year for Alphonso,” said Canada coach John Herdman. “He’s doing things at the highest level in the world game. He’s flown the flag for Canada, he’s been a real bright spot on the sporting landscape in a time where we really needed some bright spots.
“We’re all proud of what he’s achieved this year. But I think we can see there’s still more to come. And that consistency now is probably Alphonso’s next big challenge. Can he repeat and can he take it to the next level?”
It’s difficult to imagine ‘Kid Canada’ doing anything else.
Shapeshifting from attacking winger to flying wing-back, Davies has become the best in class in a position he only knew from a handful of run-outs at international level and in the MLS.
His Ivy League-standard soccer IQ eased the transition; his innate pace and athleticism have enabled him to put his own slant on what it means to be a modern-day full-back; his humble side ensures both feet remain firmly planted on the ground.
“It means a lot,” Davies told bundesliga.com after taking the left-back berth in the FIFPro World 11 ahead of Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson.
“Obviously from a personal standpoint, for myself there are attributes of my game that I can fix. There are other left-backs in the world that are better than me at some attributes but being able to consider myself as one of the best left-backs is amazing.
“I just want to keep learning from all these great guys around me at Bayern.”
Kitted out with a long-term contract through to summer 2025, Davies will have the opportunity to do exactly that for years to come.
There have been setbacks. A combination of inevitable fatigue, the re-emergence of 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez and an ankle ligament injury that put him in the treatment room for almost two months checked the Canada international’s inexorable progress in the early part of 2020/21 – but he is only 20.
“Sometimes I think about it and can’t believe that it is all happening, but the reality is that I have to be focused,” Davies said in the November 2020 edition of World Soccer Magazine.
“I arrived in Europe with so many dreams, and already Bayern have helped me achieve many of them, but I’m just getting started. There will be many more.”
Considering the talent, adaptability and attitude that have propelled Davies to the top of the game in double-quick time, there is no reason to doubt him.