Ben Davies is happy to continue competing with Danny Rose at Tottenham
- Credit: Archant
Left-back Ben Davies says he is happy to continue competing with Danny Rose at Tottenham, having marked his return to the starting line-up with his first goal for the club in Sunday’s FA Cup triumph.
Davies was a key player in the Wales side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in the summer, but he has struggled to get regular game time at Spurs this season.
Rose - England’s first-choice left-back - continues to go from strength to strength, with the 26-year-old scoring one goal and setting up another two in a three-game spell either side of Christmas.
Meanwhile, Davies found himself on the bench for six successive games between December 11 and January 4.
However, he was named in the starting line-up against Aston Villa in Sunday’s FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane, and the 23-year-old broke the deadlock with a 71st-minute header as Spurs triumphed 2-0 and progressed to the fourth round.
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“I’m happy as it is at the moment,” said Davies. “I’m still young and I’m learning a lot here. The competition has definitely improved me as a player, and when I get the opportunities I have to try to do my best and make a mark and show what I can do.
“When you’re competing with someone, you have that drive to do as well as possible. I like to think it works both ways - that Danny and I have both improved in the time that we’ve been competing with each other to be the best we can be. You can see with Danny, some of his performances have been superb this year.
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“There’s always going to be competition for places here and the standards have been set by all four of us [full-backs] really. We’ve been playing well when we’ve had the chance.”
Asked whether he has felt a pressure to start contributing goals, given Rose has netted twice so far this season, Davies said: “I guess so but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s not a defender’s priority or main job to score.
“It’s not a priority for me, I’ll be honest, but it’s always nice when you can contribute like that. It was a nice feeling to get off the mark, and it was an important time in the game for us to kick on and finish it, to close it out.
“Villa were playing with so many men behind the ball. It was a bit of free roaming really [on my part] and sometimes you have to try to get in the box. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Davies spent most of Sunday’s game playing as a wing-back in a 3-4-2-1 system which manager Mauricio Pochettino seems increasingly taken with.
The Spurs manager has now used the formation in each of the last three games – and Davies is familiar with the set-up, which is also used by Wales. However, he plays as the left-sided centre-back for his international side, with Swansea’s Neil Taylor operating outside him on the flank.
“It’s hard work out there [as a wing-back] but it’s part of football,” said Davies. “If you’re asked to play in any role that’s what you have to do. Three at the back could be here to stay but it’s up to the manager at the end of the day.
“I like to think I could play in that role [as a centre-back] as well. They’re nice options for the manager to have, to have quite a few of us who can play in different positions. But we haven’t discussed anything like that at all.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs