Alphonso Davies has tipped his hat to Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga, after taking receipt of the 2019/20 Rookie of the Season award.
Davies, 19 and competing in his first full season of Bundesliga football, claimed the title ahead of fellow monthly Rookie winners Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Ismail Jakobs (Cologne).
“I’m very proud,” Davies told Bundesliga legend and Rookie ringmaster Lothar Matthäus. “The first time I came to Germany, I just tried to learn from the best and the players that were here. Being able to have this award and play that many games is a dream come true.”
Davies made a total of 29 Bundesliga appearances in 2019/20, a significant improvement on his six cameo outings from the bench during the second half of the previous campaign. Initially drafted in as a makeshift left-back following injuries to Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez, the Canada international ended the campaign as coach Hansi Flick’s go-to guy in the position.
Davies started 24 games all told, only missing out once between Matchdays 9 and 34 through suspension. He scored three goals and assisted five more; averaged 57 per cent for challenges won, 62 per cent for aerial challenges won and 87 per cent for successful passes; and set a new Bundesliga speed record of 22.7mph.
“I did track and field for three years,” he said of his incendiary pace and recovery times. “That’s what helps me run so fast, but I don’t really have a secret. I guess I was just born with it.”
Watch: Alphonso Davies under the tactical microscope
Davies credits the likes of top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski and defender David Alaba - his right-hand man on the left-hand side of the Bayern defence - for his rapid and seamless transition from prodigious winger to world’s best left-back.
“We have great guys in the team,” he star explained. “They help me out with every situation. They want me to every day be my best on the field, in training. My relationship with them is very good.”
Davies admits he doesn’t get along quite as well with the German language - “I really have to think about it” - but has swiftly acquired Bayern’s winning gene. The two-time Bundesliga champion could yet add a second successive DFB Cup trophy to his collection - the holders face Bayer Leverkusen in the final on 4 July - and there is the small matter of the UEFA Champions League knockouts to come in August.
“My goals with Bayern Munich are to win as many titles as possible, to play as many games as possible with this amazing club, score goals, get assists.”
A delight on and off the pitch, Davies also has a humble side. Having been born in Buduburam, a Ghanaian refugee camp, after his parents fled the civil war in Liberia, the teenager is not one to pass up an opportunity. He moved to Canada at the age of five, gaining citizenship 12 years later and, via a formative stint in Major League Soccer with Vancouver Whitecaps, earned a shot at the big time in the Bundesliga.
“The Bundesliga is special for me because they give young players the opportunity to really go out there and show what they have,” Davies said. “Obviously it’s not easy coming in - especially from Canada - coming in at a high level like this, and being able to play so easily. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of determination for me to be able to play.”
That Davies has done so with such pizazz, as part of a team already brimming with world-class talent, highlights his commitment to his craft. The 2019/20 Rookie Award attests to his world-beating potential.
Musiala and Bellingham: Bayern and Dortmund's friendly rivals
Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham's career paths have brought them together as friends and separated them as on-field rivals for club and country.
Bundesliga Fantasy Team of the Season so far
No Christopher Nkunku or Sadio Mane? Find out the top performers going into the unlimited transfer window...
Union Berlin: From East German also-rans to Bundesliga leaders
The club's remarkable journey has taken them from the basement of German football to its very summit.