Scoring the third goal in Everton’s famous 4-0 win over Manchester City on 15 January, Tom Davies has already endeared himself to the Goodison faithful. Embracing fully with fans in section five of the Lower Gwladys, Davies’ post-goal actions betrayed a player who takes to the pitch for the love of his team – and nothing more.
But the big draw, of course, should be the opportunity to play in the white jersey of England in 2018, and be part of a squad that ends more than five decades of hurt on the international stage. For Davies to fulfil any such ambition, he must first unseat one of Adam Lallana or Dele Alli from England manager Gareth Southgate’s squad.
The latter player is currently in the form of his life, but if Gareth Southgate is ever to consider replacing Alli with Davies, then he would need to look at several areas of comparison. With a central midfield spot at stake, passing ability would be the primary factor.
England manager Gareth Southgate has much to ponder as he prepares to usher in the next generation of England stars.
Alli is one of the Premier League’s form players right now, and football tipsters, such as Footy Accumulators football tips, still identify Tottenham as title contenders. Southgate, therefore, would likely be surprised to learn that both Alli and Davies have an equal percentage of completed passes – 80%. Should Southgate ever wish his squad to play more directly through the middle, he will also have a further dilemma in the fact that Alli and Davies also have an equal percentage of shots on target – 58%.
Interestingly, reverting back to the passing metric, Davies presently trumps Alli in the successful pass stakes, at 35.9% to Alli’s 29.9%.
Gerrard Is the (Regrettable) Bar in Mersey Midfield
The irritating tendency for ex-professionals, given voice via mass media, to over-hype a young English player has been prevalent for as long as anyone can remember. Of course, Davies has been no exception, with ex-Evertonian and Scotland international Don Hutchison recently drawing comparison to – of all people – Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who left Anfield in 2015.
Certainly, the determination and aggression Davies showed in opening the scoring against Leicester on 9 April, after just thirty seconds of play, was hugely reminiscent of players like Gerrard.
Yet, if such a comparison is to be fully justified, then Davies will do as Gerrard did, and win a domestic treble at the age of 21.
Even the most optimistic Evertonians know that is astronomically unlikely. Undeniably, though, there is a distinct aura about Davies, which even the most seasoned sports writer may struggle to explain. What really matters right now is that Davies wears the royal blue of Everton, and as the old saying goes: “those who don’t understand, don’t matter”.