Saiguhan Elancheran writes a detailed scout report about Tom Davies, the Everton and England midfielder.
Often termed as an unrivalled academy in England, the Everton academy provides a great pathway for youth stars to gain first-team football. Everton have been known for producing brilliant talents in the past with the prime example being Wayne Rooney. In the recent seasons a lot of youngsters have broken into the first team and they have also been successful which led them to call-ups for National duties. Ross Barkley, who came through the academy, is touted as one of the players to hold the key to Everton’s future. Tom Davies is one such lad who has marked his arrival in an emphatic fashion lately.
Brought into the foray by ex-Everton coach Roberto Martinez on 16 April 2016, Davies played just two games in the last two months of the season. In the current season young Tom has produced some amazing displays whenever his manager has fielded him. Being viewed as one of the best English talents at the moment, Tom Davies has always been followed by Evertonians as well as the English fans, not least because he is the captain of the England U-19 team.
Who is Tom Davies?
Born on 30 June 1998, Thomas “Tom” Davies is a player who has come through the ranks of the Everton academy after joining them at the age of just 11. The 18-year old lad is a central midfielder by position and he made his debut in April 2016. After proving his worth during his time with the Everton youths, he was given his first professional contract on 30th September 2015 with the senior team when he was just 17 years old. The Evertonian culture has always been there in his heart as his uncle, Alan Whittle, was a part of the Everton team which won the English championship in 1970.
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His late equaliser in the 3-3 mini-derby thriller gained him call up from Martinez to train with the senior side. Davies made his debut under Roberto Martinez on 16th April 2016 when he came on as a substitute on 83rd minute in the game against Southampton at Goodison Park which ended 1-1. He was called up by the then England manager to train with the senior National squad while he was the captain of the England team which travelled to Chile for the U-17 FIFA world cup. After the sacking of Roberto Martinez, on the final day of the 2015-16 season, Davies was given his full professional debut against Norwich by the caretaker manager in a game which they should have won 3-0. His display in the full 90 minutes of the game showed what Everton would receive from the lad in the future. He received praise from all over the country as he put in a man-of-the-match performance.
He is often referred to as a “throwback” to the old retro style because of his looks. His old school looks, hair style and low worn socks make people neglect the fact that many modern players from academy lack the street wisdom and rough edges of school boy footballers. But Tom has proved them wrong with his displays.
What is his style of play?
The Evertonian is a central midfielder by position and often deployed as a defensive midfielder to help out his defense. He plays in the double pivot along with Barry or Gueye when the team plays a 4-2-3-1 but he has also been played further upfront this season by Koeman. In the 3-5-2 system, Davies plays on the right side of the three man central midfield. He has also been given the license to go forward when the chance arises as he shown his capabilities in attack.
So he can be considered as an attacking minded central midfielder with good offensive traits who can defend well. His ability to move forward has given the opportunity for Koeman to provide him with more freedom and a more advanced role than the other two midfielders. He is not a player who covers all the bases so far, but he has proven that he has the potential to become such a player if guided in the right way.
He is a player who loves to control the game and be at the centre of things. The lad is a huge fan of Iniesta and Busquets and he said, “I love watching Barcelona, they’re the best team around. Players like Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, I really enjoy watching them and seeing how calm and composed they are. The way they can control a game, that’s something I’d love to be able to do one day.”
What are his strengths?
Tom Davies stands 5’11’’ tall and figures well enough for a central midfielder. His height is one of his strengths and it plays an important role in winning take-ons, interceptions and tackles.
Against the Saints his forward passes proved to be very decisive as he assisted Lukaku’s last gasp winner. In the game against City, he bossed the midfield winning the battle against Yaya Toure. It is no easy feat to achieve for a kid to oust a world class central midfielder like Yaya and it proves his desire to play in the game. He is always active and wants the ball often to be at his feet and he is a great distributor of the ball as well. His through ball opened up the space for Mirallas to pass it to Lukaku who then scored the first goal of the game. His pass opened up City’s defense and showed his quality in distribution.
After plundering City’s midfield, he continued his good run with an assist for Coleman’s last gasp winner against Palace. His game awareness is brilliant and he reacts to situations very well, therefore, he can find killer passes at any given instant and he can also lunge in with a tough tackle or two when the team is in trouble at the back.
Given that he possesses great passing ability from the centre, he is a great dictator of the game for the Toffees when going forward. Also his age is one of his biggest strengths as he shows a lot of eagerness and desire for the game on and off the field. It is also striking to see that he maintains calmness and composure during pressure situations which is tough to handle given his age.
Another area where he is strong is dribbling. He doesn’t dribble long distances but he dribbles very quickly to cover shorter distances and play a sudden ball. This allows him to create more dangerous chances when it comes to his dribbling in attacking third. A great example can be Everton U-21’s 3rd goal in the 3-1 victory over Liverpool U-21.
His leadership quality and his ability to lead the pack has been one of the talking points. This might be one of the most important qualities for him and the team itself in the future. He has already led the England U-16s, U-17s and U-19 teams and he also led the U-17 team to U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2015.
What are his weaknesses?
Though he can find his teammates and distribute the ball very well, he still has to improve a lot when it comes to passing accuracy. He showed 72% passing accuracy in the game against City and it is a stat which is not going to help his cause. He possesses a passing accuracy of 79% on average which is very low for a central midfielder who is at the heart of the team. At the age of 18, the lad looks like a school going backpacker. In order to be defensively astute, he must shape up his body a bit. Given the Premier League’s physical approach, he should be ready for all the donkey work and to perform that he should tighten up his body.
He should also concentrate on his defending as he has just won an average of 51% of the duels he has faced according to Squawka.
Also one of his weaknesses is his inability to provide telling long passes. The Englishman plays short passes very well but we haven’t seen his long passes so far. For a team which mainly depends on its striker, Lukaku, for goals, they must be ready be to play long balls. Lukaku is the kind of a striker who would love to receive long balls and enter an aerial duel with a defender; this means the central midfielder has to be very adept in finding him with long deliveries.
And one thing to remember about him is that he is not a complete package who possesses everything like his role models. The weakness in this case is that he cannot be expected to pull off a brilliant tackle after playing a wonderful pass before the break in play. Being an 18-year old, he won’t have all the tricks up his sleeve anyway.
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