TORONTO — Canada coach John Herdman says Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies is already making strides at Bayern Munich despite limited appearances.
"I've seen a level of confidence grow — just in the interaction," said Herdman, referring to a recent video meeting with the 18-year-old attacking midfielder. "More talkative. Yeah, more confident.
"He's standing on a higher ground at this point in his confidence. But the humility's still there and I love that about him," he added.
Davies joined Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a then-MLS-record $22-million US transfer deal that will see him play for the German side through 2023. The deal was consummated in July but Davies closed out the MLS season before joining Bayern in January.
He has seen cameo appearances off the bench so far but has been included in Bayern's Champions League roster.
Herdman, speaking at the release of Canada Soccer's 2019-21 strategic plan Monday, said Davies had told him the first two weeks in Germany had been "really really challenging."
"He was told very quickly that 'If you don't know what you're doing with the ball before you receive it at this level, you're dead.' He said it took him two weeks to adapt to that."
Herdman said the fact that Davies is making the Bayern bench over other top players shows he is adapting.
The Canada coach said he can't wait to see Davies back in action in national team colours. Davies feels the same way, he added.
"He can't wait to come back and almost show what he's learned and where his game is now."
Davies, Canada's male player of the year in 2018, has three goals in nine appearances for Canada. Next up in a CONCACAF Nations League qualifying match against French Guiana in Vancouver on March 24.
Born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the Liberian civil war, Davies ended up in Edmonton after his family immigrated to Canada. He joined the Whitecaps' residency program in 2015, working his way up the ranks to make his MLS debut in July 2016.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press