When he was signed from local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers back in the Lee Clark days, I don’t think anyone anticipated the part that David Davis would go on to play in the Birmingham City team.
He arrived at St Andrew’s after falling out of favour under Kenny Jackett at Wolves and played just 18 games in their League One title campaign. Clark took a gamble, to say the least, but it was a low risk one and one he had to take following the departure of Tom Adeyemi.
Blues barely paid a penny for Smethwick-born Davis (a reported £150,000) and, it’s fair to say, they are now reaping the rewards with that fee proving to be a steal.
The 26-year-old is your typical English midfielder, if you like- hardworking, physical and tenacious. He might not have outstanding technical ability but having watched him from the beginning at Blues, he has definitely worked on that part of his game and improved.
It’s key that we focus on the way Davis has improved his game because it’s clear that he has knuckled down both in training but also individually in pre-season to ensure he has an advantage over his opponents. Davis’ place in the side was never really nailed down, particularly midway through Gary Rowett’s reign. But, his willingness to adapt and work hard for the team meant that he was trusted by the former manager to do a job in a wide positon that would enable him to protect his full back and maintain a solid defensive foundation.
It was, by no means, perfect because it meant that Blues lost a bit of attacking edge and I’m sure that Davis himself would’ve preferred a more central role. That’s where you get to see him at his best, in the heart of the midfield. Since Gianfranco Zola arrived at the club, Davis has slotted straight back into a central midfield positon and hasn’t been moved since. You wouldn’t expect a player like Davis to fit the Zola mould but the Italian made it clear form day one that Davis is crucial to the team going forward and rewarded him with a new contract not long ago. Blues fans only really ask for 110% and if you give that, then there can’t really be any complaints. Davis gives that every time he sets foot onto the pitch and leaves every single ounce of effort for that 90 minute spell throughout the match.
Derby Day heroics
If Davis hadn’t already endeared himself into the hearts of the St Andrew’s faithful then his exploits against both Aston Villa and former club Wolves did just that. It would be an understatement to say that Davis turns up for the big games. He is a local lad who understands the importance of derby matches and he is a player that epitomises the spirit and ‘never say die’ attitude of Birmingham City. Davis gets what it means to pull on that shirt and represent the Blue side of Birmingham.
His goals against Villa and Wolves provided us with moments that we certainly won’t forget in a hurry and his celebrations only added to his heroic status as a Blues player. He has been known to be slightly wild when shooting at goal previously but, in the heat of the moment, he produced two expert finishes when it mattered most. He currently has four goals to his name this season which is already his best ever total and he might not be finished yet- a certain Second City derby at Villa Park is just around the corner.
Davis is the engine in the Birmingham City midfield and the engine just doesn’t seem to stop. His sheer strength and athleticism gives him a huge advantage over his opponents and it’s very rare that you’ll see him get pushed off the ball. If ever there’s a ball to be won, you’d back Davis to come out on top and spring back up onto his feet to fight for the next ball to be won.
There’s no hiding out on a football pitch and you quickly get found out if you’re not pulling your weight or performing to your potential. There have been many occasions where Davis has misplaced a pass or given the ball away but it’s his hunger and desire to win it back that makes him so crucial to the team. As I said, he isn’t the most technically gifted but his passion and love for the game certainly shines through above all. You could see when he first joined Blues that his game was based on hard work and energy but he didn’t always see games through. Indeed, as stated previously, he has had to work extremely hard to get into tip top shape that now allows him to play at maximum potential all game and it is that extra bit of strength and added drive that gives him the edge over others. As a midfielder in the Championship, Davis pretty much has it all.
Player of the season?
It’s been a very strange season for us Blues fans with the whole Rowett/Zola change and the season hasn’t quite turned out for the better. However, Davis is someone who has performed consistently throughout and, if he has a bad game technically, always makes up for it with his willingness to work and harass opponents. In my opinion, he has definitely been the best performer for us so far this season and it’s extremely encouraging to know that you’re always going to get a performance from him. And, to be fair to Davis, he is very good with the ball at his feet now and seems to be getting better game by game at controlling the midfield and dictating play.
It’s got to the point where, if Davis is missing for a game, the team really miss him and it just proves how vital he is to the side. The fans love him at St Andrew’s and it’s clear why. Let’s just hope he continues to perform at a high level, remains at Blues for years to come and creates many more moments like those against Villa and Wolves.