Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies has already picked up his share of accolades in his first full season in the Bundesliga - will he get the Goldon Boy award too? - © DFL
Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies has already picked up his share of accolades in his first full season in the Bundesliga - will he get the Goldon Boy award too? - © DFL
bundesliga

Why Alphonso Davies should win the 2020 Golden Boy Award

One of 10 Bundesliga players in the running for the prestigious 2020 Golden Boy award, Bayern Munich and Canada speedster Alphonso Davies is a major contender to win the prize.

bundesliga.com explains why the 19-year-old could beat the likes of Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho to be named as the best footballer under the age of 21 in Europe...

The Golden Boy award has been presented by Italian newspaper Tuttosport since 2003, and Davies will be looking to follow in the footsteps of previous winners like Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Dortmund's Mario Götze.

Götze claimed the honour in 2011, and three of his teammates from the 2019/20 season - Haaland, Sancho and US international Gio Reyna - are in contention for the award this year.

Known for honing young talent, the Bundesliga is unsurprisingly represented by 10 players in total on the longlist of contenders for the accolade. Davies, though, has more reason than most to consider himself a strong candidate to succeed 2019 Golden Boy Joao Felix.

A fast learner

Having entered the 2019/20 campaign as a winger who had never started a German top-flight game, Davies finished it as one of the best left-backs in Europe. The fastest player in the Bundesliga - clocked at 22.7 miles per hour on Matchday 32 - he has already earned a new contract at Bayern, a Bundesliga and DFB Cup double, and the fourth official Rookie of the Season award.

"Alphonso has become an integral part of our team," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said in April. The Canada international had, Salihamidzic said, made lightning-quick progress, impressing with his pace, enthusiasm and attacking drive.

Watch: Davies discussed his Rookie award with Lothar Matthäus

It's impossible to argue with that assessment. Last year, after all, Davies made just six appearances off the bench after joining the record German champions from Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019.

A successful switch

Most observers expected the inexperienced youngster to gradually get more minutes in his first full season in Germany, and as a winger rather than at full-back.

However, long-term injuries to Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez meant that Niko Kovac chose to place Davies at left-back for what was his first Bundesliga start at the end of October. The tireless teenager continued to flourish in that position after Hansi Flick took over as Bayern head coach soon afterwards.

Alphonso Davies (l.) has thrived by following the guidance of Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick (r.) - gettyimages

Other players on the Golden Boy list have made a decisive contribution to their sides, but not many have transformed their team in the way that Davies did. In the midst of an injury crisis, he made learning a new role look easy and allowed David Alaba to shift inside to form an impressive central defensive partnership with Jerome Boateng.

Bayern were seventh in the standings and seven points off the top after Matchday 14. Following his first appearance at left-back, Davies started 30 competitive games in a row as Bayern coasted to the double - as well as to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

"Alphonso's doing an outstanding job," Flick said late in the domestic campaign. "In addition to his speed, he works very well defensively. He also makes and scores goals himself. He's still young, and can and wants to learn. He's definitely one of our key players at the moment."

A big-game reputation

In the Bundesliga alone, Davies finished with three goals and five assists from 29 appearances. His aggression, awareness and pace got Bayern out of trouble on many an occasion, while his passing accuracy of close to 90 percent helped them dominate most games.

Alphonso Davies (l.) got the better of fellow Golden Boy nominee Erling Haaland (c.) when Bayern Munich met Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 28 of the 2019/20 campaign. - imago images / Poolfoto

It's clear, too, that Davies is a man for the big occasion. In February, he gained even more admirers around the world with a barnstorming display against Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16. Bayern won that first leg 3-0 in London, with a breathtaking burst from Davies that set up the final goal for Robert Lewandowski being a clear highlight.

"Champions League, Bundesliga - it's all the same football I think," Davies said afterwards. "We just want to win every game we play."

The 2018 Canadian Men's Player of the Year extended his contract in April - he's now tied to Bayern until 2025 - before making the headlines again on Matchday 28.

While Joshua Kimmich scored the only goal to give Bayern a crucial win at title rivals Dortmund, Davies also earned widespread praise - and a new nickname - for his all-action display. While Haaland and Sancho had been terrifying defences throughout Germany, they met their match when faced with the speed and relentless energy of Davies.

Watch: Thomas Müller had a new nickname for Alphonso Davies!  

Teammate Thomas Müller dubbed the rampaging full-back the "FC Bayern Road Runner" after that performance, one which helped him scoop both the Rookie of the Month award for May and the Rookie of the Season prize.

A star in the making

"The Bundesliga is special for me because they give young players the opportunity to really go out there and show what they have," Davies told Bayern legend Lothar Matthäus after being announced as the winner of the latter award.

Born to Liberian parents and having spent time in a Ghanaian refugee camp before moving to Canada, Davies has a habit of making the most of every opportunity that comes his way.

"Alphonso Davies is an unbelievably successful story," said former Vancouver coach Carl Robinson, who handed the Bayern star his professional debut at the age of 15. "It’s due to himself - because he is a very, very talented player."

Bayern will hope to repeat their 2012/13 heroics by turning a double into a treble when the Champions League resumes in August, but that they are in that position at all is thanks in large part to Davies.

Sancho and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz were voted second and third for the 2019 Golden Boy prize, but there's a good chance that Davies - despite stiff competition - could go even better this year.