Alphonso Davies seems destined to be forever linked with big soccer clubs in England.
In May of last year, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi admitted the club had contact with Manchester United.
In his first media availability of 2018 on Wednesday, head coach Carl Robinson listed some more teams by name. They are four of the biggest teams in England.
“Listen, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, they’ve all shown interest,” said Robinson. “They’ve all looked at him.”
Yeah, you could say those are some pretty prominent clubs.
Davies spent the entire 2017 season with the Whitecaps as a 16-year-old. That’s going to grab attention, because the sky is the limit for the Edmonton-raised product.
But there’s still a long way to go in Davies’ development before he suits up in the Premier League.
After a strong start to the season that included a breakout performance for Canada at the Gold Cup in July, Davies faded down the stretch with the Whitecaps. He’s still in search of his first-career MLS goal.
“I think in football sometimes, especially professional football, you underestimate the mental demands of it,” Robinson added. “Alphonso Davies is 16-17 years of age. You go to the Gold Cup and there’s no expectation of you. You go, and you do great. I think he scored three goals in three games. Suddenly, you’re the talk of the town. Everyone’s talking about him. Which is great for him.
“He comes back and there’s a little bit of a slump.”
Davies was asked to train with Manchester United’s youth team this winter, but declined the invitation. Instead, he will train with the Canadian Olympic team later this month under new men’s team head coach John Herdman.
Robinson has been protective of Davies since day one. He’s been weary of allowing the teenaged prodigy to burn out, choosing to bring him along slowly.
Rest was the best thing for the youngster, who turned 17 in November, according to Robinson.
“Knowing Alphonso, speaking to Alphonso and his representatives, it was important he needed a physical and a mental break.”
Davies can be transferred after he turns 18 later this year. If he takes the next step in 2018, he might not be long for MLS.
“Alphonso is our player. And I’m delighted to call him our player, because he’s got a big future at this football club. What I cannot answer to you is whether he will be here for 10 years, unfortunately. I want Alphonso to play and play at the levels he can.”
Davies, Robinson, and the rest of the Whitecaps kick off the preseason less than a month from now, in Hawaii.