Tottenham Hotspur may be without Ben Davies for the north London derby on Saturday afternoon…
According to The Sun journalist Tom Barclay, there is no guarantee that the 29-year-old will be fit enough to feature against arch-rivals Arsenal after he picked up an injury before the win over Leicester City.
He subsequently withdrew from his international duties as Wales faced Belgium and Poland without him.
“The suggestion was that he was always going to miss the two Wales games but has a good chance of coming back for Arsenal,” the reporter explained to GIVEMESPORT.
“Rob Page spoke about his injury and said it’s not serious, but I still think with the Arsenal game being so close there’s no guarantee he’ll be fit for the game, but fingers crossed because there is a good chance.”
It’s thought that the Welshman has been suffering from a hairline fracture to the bone beneath his knee, so it could be a big risk to throw him straight back in after the international break, with football.london also suggesting that there are question marks over his availability heading into kick-off.
Given Davies’ vast experience and versatility, his absence would be a gutting blow for manager Antonio Conte, who is looking to get another one up on the club’s rivals.
The Welshman has also played 14 times against the Gunners and been on the winning side in 50% of those outings, in which he has also provided two goal contributions.
Once hailed as “magnificent” by Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer, the former Swansea City defender has gone on to feature 278 times for the Lilywhites, with 42 of those matches coming under the Italian, who has trusted him to be his first-choice left-sided centre-back.
“He’s a reliable player,” Conte told the club’s official website back in April, before adding: “Ben is playing in an important way with us, as a central defender and he’s showing that he’s a really good player.”
Indeed, a left-back by trade, the £60k-per-week star has become an ever-present member of Spurs’ central defensive three, very much as he has done for Wales too.
And when compared to other centre-backs across Europe, you can see why the ex-Chelsea boss trusts him so much.
As per FBref, Davies ranks inside the top 5% for progressive carries (5.82 per 90) and the top 10% for progressive passes (4.21 per 90), not only highlighting his ball-playing ability but also earning a statistical likeness to players such as Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona’s Jules Kounde.
Therefore, it’s clear that Davies – if absent this weekend – would be a big miss to both Conte and the squad, given his obvious fit for the manager’s system, reliability and experience ahead of a game of this calibre.