all know how vital Simon Davies has been to the progress this club has
made over the last two seasons, so how does his place in the squad fit
in with the thinking of the management ?
looks at how the future might pan out for our Welsh Wizard.
It was the suspension that Simon picked
up for not getting sent off at Highbury that did it for me.
The fact that playing the Gooners was going to be hard enough
without having one of our best players sent off after just 27 minutes
was like a kick in the stomach. I
am sure much of the background to the dismissal will be covered
elsewhere in this issue, the incidents were totally out of context for
Davies, who plays within the laws for the bulk of the time he spends on
His first offence was a joke and the
second was a genuine attempt to get the ball. I have never seen Davies deliberately bring an opponent down
in the way that many other players appear to do as if they have been
trained from birth to do so. Most
of the fouls awarded against him would not have been given in the past,
because of the “intent” aspect of the offence. Mostly he makes
genuine attempts to go for the ball and although he might not always
make a clean contact with it, his first motive is to rob an opponent of
possession; not to prevent him getting past come what may.
There have been bookings, but in this day
and age, a player in the hurly-burly of the Premiership midfield battles
will always get bookings, whether they are dirty or not.
Opponents often catch Simon, because his speed takes him past
them and they catch him late. He gets up and gets on with the game, without a word or
action to indicate that the offender should be punished in any way.
He realises that this is the reason the officials are there.
Davies had his grounding in the game at
Peterborough, after being taken there from Norwich City by youth coach
Kit Carson. Under the
tutelage of Barry Fry, he and Matthew Etherington, were taught the
basics of the game and the right way to play it.
Fry is a regular visitor to White Hart Lane to watch over his
former charges, who he accuses David Pleat of “stealing” from him
for £1.5 million. However,
it is a big step up form Division Two to the Premiership and Tottenham
nurtured their purchases and drip-fed them experience to ensure that
when they did make it to the first team, they were ready for it.
Indeed, one of Davies’ first outings in the first team was as a
sub against Birmingham City in the Worthington Cup and his removal from
the play at half-time by George Graham must have been a hard one to
But with Graham gone, Simon started to
shine under Hoddle and became a more regular member of the side.
His midfield dynamism produced impetus in that area that had been
missing for quite a while. Among
his attributes are speed and excellent distribution, which mean that
when Spurs break, he can be relied on to be one of the furthest forward
players; quite often outstripping the oldies in making attacking runs,
which often leads to him being unsupported when out wide on the flanks. Hopefully, the introduction of Robbie Keane will mean that
there is at least one other pair of young legs making their way into the
other side’s penalty area !!
Having been hit by injuries, the
necessities of the side have resulted in Davies having to play at right
back on occasion. His
comments about being happy to play anywhere as long as he is involved
are what you might expect from a young man making his name in the game,
but contrast it with his former Posh mate Etherington, who laid down the
law that he should be getting more game sin the first team.
Most managers will decide who plays and when, not thanking their
players for trying to force their hand by making statements to the
media. While Matty might
have been frustrated seeing Simon playing regularly in the white shirt
of Spurs, Davies has just got on with it, doing his best at every
opportunity he has been presented.
was the suspension that gave me reason to doubt Hoddle’s use of the
squad. Knowing Davies would not be available for the match at
Birmingham and having travelled back from a Euro 2004 qualifier
Azerbijan in midweek, he was dropped to the bench for the home match
against Leeds. As it turned
out, Leeds were crap and we didn’t need Simon in the side. However,
some remarks which were made by the player and manager after the
Birmingham game and in the run up to the meeting with WBA, there were
indications that he might not slip straight back into the gap left
vacant thanks to the FA’s quashing of the sending off at Highbury, but
the upholding of the second yellow card, making five for the season.
It is almost tantamount to treason to
hint that Simon Davies will not be part of the team if fully fit.
The midfield are unable to be as mobile with Poyet and Anderton
in there instead of the Welshman.