Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies, a naturalized Canadian born in Ghana, completed his $22 million transfer from the Vancouver Whitecaps this month. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the deep end.

The 18-year-old winger will likely get his first taste of Bundesliga action for Bayern Munich in the coming weeks, if not on Friday.

Bayern restarts the league after the winter break at Hoffenheim, where Davies could play because of injuries to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are the only two other healthy wingers Bayern has.

Davies, a naturalized Canadian born in Ghana, completed his $22 million transfer from the Vancouver Whitecaps this month and made his Bayern debut on Sunday in a mid-season warm-up competition, on the right wing against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer handed the trophy straight to the youngster after the penalty shootout win over Gladbach, part of his initiation for the Bavarian powerhouse.

“He’s still a very young player with things to learn but who also can help us in the near future,” Neuer said.

Davies showed glimpses of his potential – the reason Bayern agreed to pay a record for a Major League Soccer player – and could even have been awarded a penalty against Gladbach.

“He’s doing really well,” Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich said, referring also to Davies’ performances at the team training camp in Doha, Qatar. “I think he’s going to help us already in the second half of the season.”

While expectations are being kept in check, the stage is set for Davies to play a starring role this season. Bayern is six points behind Borussia Dortmund at the halfway stage of the Bundesliga season and well positioned to capitalize on any slip-ups.

Davies, wearing No. 19 at Bayern, said training now is “very different” to what he was used to at the Whitecaps, and that he is determined to make the most of his chance.

It’s remarkable that he was given the chance at all. Davies’ parents, Victoria and Debeah, fled civil war in Liberia for Buduburam, a refugee camp west of Accra in Ghana. Davies was born there, and the family continued living there until he was 5 before moving to Canada in 2006.

The family settled in Edmonton, where Davies began playing soccer, first at school, then at a free after-school league for inner-city children.

Davies joined the Whitecaps’ residency program when he was 14. He went on to become the youngest player to appear in the United Soccer League and became the first player born this century to play in the MLS, at 15 years, 8 months, 15 days.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is responsible for bringing Davies to Europe. Davies’ contract with the five-time European champions runs through June 2023.

“He offers a lot of promise for the future. Alphonso already possesses great ability, which is why a lot of top clubs were keen on him,” Salihamidzic said when the deal was announced in July.

The fee was the most received by an MLS club in the league’s 23-year history.

Before his move to Munich, Davies put on one last show for Vancouver fans on Oct. 28, scoring twice in the Whitecaps’ 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the regular-season finale. He finished the season with eight goals and 11 assists.

Now at Bayern, he will be learning from Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, Thiago Alcantara, James Rodriguez, Robben and Ribery. But Davies isn’t at Bayern just to learn.

“He’s a young player who was voted player of the year in his homeland. He has huge potential,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac said. “We need quality, that’s why he’s here.”

By The Associated Press

Just Posted

Red Deer would be the site of potential TV show

A potential TV show aims to bring Red Deer kids across the… Continue reading

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crude-by-rail volumes

CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from… Continue reading

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets new job among flurry of Alberta government appointments

Ex-Eskimos CEO gets job among flurry of appointments EDMONTON — Len Rhodes,… Continue reading

State of mind to be key issue in Alek Minassian trial, judge says

TORONTO — The trial of a man accused of killing ten people… Continue reading

WATCH: ‘Lots to see and do’ at Pioneer Days in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating its 24th annual Pioneer Days this weekend.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

Red Deer Braves knock off undefeated Saskatoon Cubs at 18U AAA Westerns

Braves lefty Reese DeRuyter throws a complete game, one-hitter in the victory

Two men seriously injured after small plane crashes in Alberta field

BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. — Two people were injured in a plane crash… Continue reading

Two young girls dead after collision in Manitoba, RCMP say

DAUPHIN, Man. — RCMP say two young girls are dead after a… Continue reading

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning violence in Hong… Continue reading

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

OTTAWA — Emotions ran free in Ottawa Saturday as the more than… Continue reading

Liberals unveil $3B sole-source deal for armoured vehicles ahead of election

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has unveiled plans to award a… Continue reading

85-year-old, lifting since 1950, on track to cinch weightlifting championship

MONTREAL — Olympic-style weightlifting isn’t just about strength or power. It’s about… Continue reading

Most Read