Davies: Gareth Bale helped convince me to join Spurs
PUBLISHED: 14:27 22 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:36 22 October 2014
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Ben Davies says he consulted his countryman Gareth Bale before signing for Tottenham in the summer.
And the 21-year-old Wales international is determined to impress Mauricio Pochettino, improve in the head coach’s new system and overtake Danny Rose to become Spurs’ first-choice left-back.
Davies was Tottenham’s first summer signing, swapping Swansea for White Hart Lane in a £10million deal – and he admits a chat with his international team-mate Bale helped convince him to make the move.
“I spoke to him briefly about it, nothing too in-depth, but it was nice just to have that insight from him,” said Davies. “He told me what the club was like and how it worked, and what he said really appealed to me.
“The transition’s been relatively easy for me. I’ve enjoyed being up here and it’s a great opportunity for me to get away from home and to experience a new lifestyle. I don’t think there’s any better time to do that than when you’re young, and it’s a learning curve really.”
Davies was widely expected to replace Rose in Pochettino’s first-choice line-up, but instead he has been the understudy at left-back, with his four starts coming in the Europa League and Capital One Cup.
“It’s a good situation for the club to have, to have two very good left-backs working hard for the number one spot, and I think it will only benefit the club,” said Davies.
“It’s obvious as a personal challenge for me that Danny and I are both vying for the same spot, but every single player at this club has got competition for their positions and that’s part of being a footballer.
“I had the same situation for the last two or three years at Swansea with Neil Taylor. It’s a different side of it for me now but it’s one I’ve got to adapt to and put anything personal aside. It’s just about working for the team really.
“I think I’ve done relatively well. It’s difficult coming into games not playing as regularly as you want to, but that’s part and parcel of football and every time I get the opportunity to get on the field I’ve got to show what I can do and put my best foot forward.
“I came to this club not taking anything granted that I was going to play every game. At the moment I’m still playing 90 minutes a week really in the Europa League, as I would be if I was still at Swansea now.
“I’m working hard every single day and hopefully if I keep going and keep showing the manager what I can do then I’ll get the opportunities to get some more games under my belt.
“I think it’s about showing consistency as a full-back more than anything. If you can keep up a good string of performances then you’re going to put yourself in the frame.
“It’s not really a position where you can come out and totally dominate the game but you’ve got to be confident, play with freedom and our manager obviously understands the position, being a defender himself.
“It’s not one where you can go out there and take the game by the scruff of the neck but if you can show what you can do on the ball and off the ball it’s good for you as a player.”
Davies admits he has had to adapt tactically after his move from Swansea to Spurs.
“As much as his Southampton team and his Spurs team this year want to keep the ball, a little like Swansea, it’s actually quite different,” he said.
“The pressing game is a very important part for this club and sometimes at Swansea it was more a case of sitting back and waiting for teams to come onto us.
“That’s something different tactically but we’re all getting used to this new style of play and this new system that Mauricio’s brought in, and I’m sure in time it will serve us well for seasons to come.”
Davies played in the Europa League with Swansea last season but, as Tottenham prepare to host Greek outfit Asteras Tripolis at White Hart Lane tomorrow, he admits there are higher goals at his new club.
“I don’t think we were really expected to do too much last year in the Europa League,” said Davies. “Valencia were in our group and they were expected to top the table - which they did in the end - but in our first game we beat them 3-0 away and that gave us a big confidence boost that we could play at that level.
“But it’s a different scenario now, we’re expected to do well in this competition and we’re confident we can do that.
“I think it’s a good competition for the club to be in. It gives the entire squad an opportunity for games, and games at the top level at that.
“The winner of this year’s competition is guaranteed a spot in next year’s Champions League too so we’ve got to go into this competition looking to win it really, and if that means getting a Champions League spot at the end of it then that’s great for us.
“We’re expecting a tough game tomorrow. They [Asteras] are top of the league in our group and we’ve got to go out there as if it’s a game against one of the best clubs in Europe. We’ve got to put our performance right on the field first, and if that’s right then hopefully we’ll be able to get the three points.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs