Canada head coach Jonathan Herdman believes Alphonso Davies is set to take his game up a notch following his move to Bayern Munich from the Vancouver Whitecaps in the winter transfer window.
The 18-year-old winger, who has nine senior international caps for Canada to date, made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern as a late substitute against VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 19. He has had another four outings since then and scored his maiden top-flight goal in Germany to round off a 6-0 thrashing of Mainz on Matchday 26.
His exploits have not gone unnoticed by Canada head coach Jonathan Herdman, who says his young protégé is only going to get better. "I’m really happy with the opportunity he’s created for himself," he told SportsNet. "He’s put himself into a very good club. He’s in the best environment to learn.
Watch: Highlights of Bayern's win over Mainz, including Davies' first Bundesliga goal
"Alphonso is learning from some of the best players on the planet who have played in that position, in [Franck] Ribery and [Arjen] Robben. Anything he can take at the age of 18 from players like that, that’s going to take him to the next level, and that next level might not come until he’s 20 or 21."
Already blessed with frightening pace, close control and snakehips that would make John Travolta seethe with envy, Davies' next level is a tantalizing prospect. "What I’ve learned from the regular conversations I’ve had with Bayern Munich’s people […] what they’ve highlighted [Davies has to work on] is that confidence, that confidence to play freely when you’re playing with guys you only previously played with on FIFA.
"You have to play with yourself and fight through mistakes, and these are things he’s learning. When he gets that, it will only bring him to a next level for Canada when we play in more important games, including the Gold Cup and Nations League."
Davies' progress so far will undoubtedly have already given him an injection of self-belief, especially as he has already made a big adjustment to the pace of the game in Germany: "He was told very quickly that if you don't know what you're doing with the ball before you receive it at this level, you're dead. He said it took him two weeks to adapt to that."