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Canada’s Alphonso Davies set for Nations League clash with USMNT

The 18-year-old, mature beyond his years, will be ready when Canada takes on the U.S. Tuesday night at BMO

Canada v Martinique: Group A - 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Alphonso Davies #12 of Canada gestures during a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between Canada and Martinique at Rose Bowl on June 15, 2019 in Pasadena, California.

TORONTO, Ont.—In what should be the most anticipated Canadian Men’s soccer match in over 30 years Tuesday night at BMO Field when Canada takes on the United States in Concacaf Nations League action, 18-year-old Bundesliga star Alphonso Davies appreciates what’s at stake.

Davies wasn’t born the last and only time Canada’s men’s national team was in the World Cup — 1986 in Mexico City — but having grown up sporting the red-and-white since he was five years old, the Canadian isn’t oblivious to the magnitude that putting on the maple leaf will have Tuesday night.

“Me coming back to Canada, especially Toronto, it’s home to me,” said Davies at a Footy Talks CanMNT Fan Rally. “Being able to play for the National team, being one of the lucky few because not everyone can put on this jersey and play, I’m happy I am able to put on this jersey and play for this amazing country.

“Every time I come into Canada, I just think back on my time that I had here throughout my career in Vancouver and playing for the National team, it’s truly special.”

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Despite his young age, the FC Bayern Munich winger carries and conducts himself in a charismatic, yet professional manner. It’s very rare to come across an athlete who has the full package like Davies does: an extremely likeable personality, a selfless attitude, and, of course, the superstar talent.

“Playing at a club like Bayern Munich, it’s not easy to go out there and just play,” said Davies. “Everyday, in-and-out, on and off the field, you put in work. Being able to have the mindset to keep myself level headed is, as a professional, it’s something you obviously practice, as well.”

That sort of mentality is what you see in veterans, or in Davies case, golden boys destined for footballing greatness. The 18-year-old already has 16 senior international caps to his name and 10 appearances for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, yet there’s no ego when it comes to his approach to the game.

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“I’m happy to play wherever the coach needs me,” said Davies, when asked about playing his favourite position. “Left back, left wing, I have no problem playing those positions. I have a world-class left back that I can look up to and ask questions if I have any questions. Also left wingers, as well, in Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, players like that.”

It’s almost too much for us, outsiders, to fathom. Playing at an iconic club like Bayern Munich, the opportunity, and what that means. But it sounds like Davies is taking it in stride.

And through the spotlight and fame, it’s his humble, yet fearless demeanour that separates the Canadian soccer icon, determined to put Canada in its rightful spot on the world footballing stage.

“For me, it’s motivation,” said Davies when asked about how other International players may perceive the Canadian national team. “Obviously, some of the German players don’t really think Canada has the players that we have. It’s tough. Sometimes they make fun.

“I’m sure at the end of the day it’s a joke — I don’t know — but I want to prove to them that at the end of the day this country is a footballing country and we can really go far in this sport.”