2017 24 Under 24 - No. 4 - Alphonso Davies
Rudy Calderon/MLSsoccer.com

Alphonso Davies | 24 Under 24

#4

Alphonso Davies

AGE: 16

COUNTRY: Canada

POSITION: Midfielder

CLUB: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

YEARS PRO: 2

Perhaps no one in our 24 Under 24 rankings is under more pressure to be a transformative player than Vancouver Whitecaps FC's Alphonso Davies. So far, though, it hasn't phased the 16-year-old winger.

While Vancouver coach Carl Robinson has allowed the academy product to gradually ease into the professional game mostly in a bench role, the Canadian national team is a different story. Since the Ghanaian-born Davies received his citizenship in June, he has been a regular starter for Canadian boss Octavio Zambrano. He hasn't disappointed, scoring three times at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup to be the tournament's joint leading scorer. A year earlier, he became the youngest player in history to score in another continental competition, the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.

What the technical staffers say:

"He’s the dream scenario for all of us that have MLS academies. A player that can step directly into the first team and bypass USL is something that we’re all looking for. I think he’s a special player and he’s something that doesn’t come along very often, but I also think that as far it goes for MLS and the recruiting process, any time you do have a player like that, or you are able to get a player like that, I think it’s massively important that you give him the opportunity, no matter what his age is, to be in the first team and play, and I think that’s what they’ve done, and they’ve reaped the benefits of taking the chance and allowing him to get that experience, which is then translated into national team games, which is only going to improve him as a player even more."

"Athletically, he doesn’t really skip a beat, and I think that for a lot of the young players, the speed of the game as they transition from the academy or the USL team, it’s something that takes time, and even the best players have a hard time transitioning there. For me, watching him and watching the games he’s played in, he’s adapted very well."

'Even in the national team, he hasn’t changed. He hasn’t been intimidated by the spotlight or the situations he’s been put in. The biggest strength that he has is that he’s consistent with what his skill set is. He wants to run at you. He wants to get in behind, and he’s a pure finisher."

"That is a bottle rocket full of potential. He shows flashes – as anyone his age with his athletic ability – he shows flashes well beyond quite a few guys in the league with more experience. The thing for Davies is harnessing that consistency in his performance. There is no doubt, in his level of talent, that it is a matter of time before he shows the rest of us that he’s ready to do that on a weekly basis."

"The biggest thing for a young man his age – and I think Vancouver has done a wonderful job of developing him – the biggest thing for a young man with the physical attributes that he has is forcing him to improve, as opposed to just relying on those natural attributes. I think his biggest challenge at his age, being so young, is remaining focused on the continuous improvement of his technical ability and consistency."

"Athletically, running at players with the ball, he’s really dynamic. He’s an absolute threat and a menace to play against. I think he’s the kind of player, whether he’s changing the game off the bench or he’s a starter, you have to game plan for. You’ve got to expect that he’s going to be threatening to get behind your defense. If he continues to mature tactically, get more experience, become a more clinical finisher, he could become an absolute handful in this league. I’d be shocked if he’s in this league too much later than his 18th birthday, because you’re going to have clubs all over Europe chasing after him."

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