Expert weighs Ben Davies possibility to play for Tottenham as a center-half
Ben Davies was captain of Tottenham Hotspur from the left-sided center-half position against LASK, might center-half be the future for Davies and Spurs? Report by Hotspurhq.
The idea was that Ben Davies and Sergio Reguilón would share the duties as the left fullback or wing back for Tottenham Hotspur. However, with Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga still recovering from injury and Joe Rodon unavailable for the Group Stages of Europa League, Ben Davies got the call and performed well displaying the kind of steadiness one looks for in a center half and moving the ball well around the park from his defensive position in the 3-0 Tottenham victory. Why might Davies at center-half be something we see more of in this season and in seasons to come?
Davies has Done it Before
Ben Davies is no stranger to playing as a center-half and we at HotspurHQ even suggested we might see him play center-half on the left side for Spurs against LASK in our projected XI piece. We did not say he would start but did say it was a possibility. The reality is, with Eric Dier out, Davies may be the next best available in the position.
While Davies has not played the position much for Tottenham only appearing as a center back or center-half eight times according to transfermarkt.com. Alternatively, Davies has played left back 163 times for Spurs and left midfield 21 Time. Eight is not much of a sample size, however, when you start to look at Davies at the international level things begin to change.
A full Wales international since 2012, Davies has played 57 games for his home country. Many of those games, 31, have been at left back. However, the other 26 games came with Davies playing center back, either in a back three on the left or on the left side of a pair in a back four. This is some significant experience at the position, in two different set-ups meaning that asking Davies to play center-half if nothing he is uncomfortable with.
Davies showed he could play effectively in the role for Tottenham in the LASK victory. He was an excellent distributor of the ball from his back position, connecting on 82% of 66 passes, completing at least one to every Spur who walk on the pitch according to the Tottenham website. Davies was good in the duels winning 10 of 14.
Ben was not perfect in the match, connecting poorly on a header that was then nearly scored right before the half, but Joe Hart had something to say about it. Late on in the second half, Davies was trying to clear a ball in the box and mishit it out of bounds for a corner kick. Absent those two mistakes Davies was strong overall and performed well as the captain on the night.
In terms of the most recent game and likely the rest of the season, Ben Davies will play as a center back when it is necessary. Against LASK with the current situation, it was necessary. How much more it will be necessary moving forward this season is anyone’s guess. Regardless Davies has plenty of minutes to try and take and share with Sergio Reguilón at left back, at least for now.
The reality is Davies is signed until 2024 and Reguilón was just signed until 2025, so both are going to be around for a while in all likelihood. This is good, but there is also Ryan Sessegnon, although on loan at current at Hoffenheim, Sessegnon also has a contract until 2025. Add in the fact that 18-year old Dennis Cirkin was signed just in July of this past year and what we begin to see is a potential logjam at left back.
Clearly the hope is the Sessegnon develops this season in Germany and then next season he and Reguilón can split minutes, with Cirkin needing a few minutes or a loan himself. So where would this leave Ben Davies, enter center-half. With a potential youth movement at the left back position and a clear need still existing – at least as of today – for a left-sided center-half and suddenly the idea of Davies slotting in there makes perfect sense.
While Rodon is still an unknown commodity, the reality is of the five current center halves on the roster none of them are left footed. This is not to say you cannot play in that position as a right footed player, as it happens all the time. However, a left sided player is typically more comfortable in that position, with Davinson Sanchez on the left versus the right as a perfect example. With a need for a more natural player in that position and a growing set of options at Davies more natural left fullback spot, maybe his future is at center-half.