Davies' health dominates Canada's World Cup opener against Belgium

Davies’ health dominates Canada’s World Cup opener against Belgium

Will he play on Wednesday or not? The mystery surrounding Canadian star Alphonso Davies’ fitness at the World Cup will soon be answered.

If not definitively.

The Bayern Munich star has not played since leaving the field with the back of his right leg in the Bundesliga game at Hertha Berlin on November 6. An alert Davies arrived in Qatar late and stayed in Germany last Friday to nurse a hamstring injury.

Bayern later said his participation in the World Cup was “not in jeopardy”, which while positive did not give an exact timetable for a return to action.

Canadian Soccer The 22-year-old from Edmonton was not available for media sessions after his daily training session. But Davis took the initiative on Sunday, declaring himself fit in an interview.

“I’m ready to start,” he said, referring to the 41st-ranked Canadians’ midweek tournament opener against Belgium.

Coach John Herdman was more cautious when he spoke to the media on Saturday. He said while Davis has been involved in some contact work in training, “he’s still working toward his top speed.”

“He hasn’t done that much speed yet and that’s always the most important thing when you have hamstring injuries. That’s when the hamstrings are pushed to their limits.

Davis appeared to hit one of those limits during warm-up practice on Monday when he hunched over and lifted, seemingly favoring his ankle. He returned to the heat but looked in obvious distress for a few seconds.

The media is allowed to watch 15 minutes before the start of training and they are sent back to the media center out of sight. This means they watch the players come onto the field and warm up.

On Monday, they did so two fields away from visiting reporters, who needed the Hubble Space Telescope to see what was going on. The camera’s long lens captured Davis’ moment of agony.

What happens after the heat is covered. Players can fire up the hibachi grill and crack open a cold one unannounced by the traveling media.

In the absence of reliable intelligence about the Canadian star, there are many theories.

Was Davis’ public announcement intended to pressure Canada to play Wednesday as a result of Herdman’s public warning?

“My job is to make sure he plays in this World Cup, it’s a childhood dream for him,” the coach said on Saturday.

Davis’ camp has shown it’s not averse to rocking Canada’s boat, as evidenced by the decision to request — and make public — that his jersey sales stop until a similar image/name deal is secured. . Talks about such an agreement were ongoing, but going public would speed up the process.

Davies’ brand has been carefully cultivated, his management understandably superior to anyone he interacts with in the business world.

Davies chooses products close to his heart – he is an avid FIFA player and just loves wearing Crocs.

A fan of the movie “Cars,” he showed off his Lightning McQueen special edition Crocs in a social media video in Doha. Montgomery (Light) McQueen is the main character of the animated Pixar franchise.

His portfolio also includes deals with Nike, BMO and BioSteel.

The other teams in the tournament have 26 stars, all of whom have their own agendas, sponsors and advisors. While Canada has other top players at top clubs, Davies is by far the team’s marquee man.

He has 6.6 million followers on TikTok, 5.1 million on Instagram and 479,300 on Twitter. Not to mention the incredible joie de vivre.

On the field he is lightning fast, able to knock down opponents and wreak havoc between defenders. Health permitting, he is Canada’s wild card and a real problem for opponents.

Of course, the decision on whether he plays can simply be made only by the medical staff. One hopes so. Judging by Davis’ expression during that anxious moment on Monday, he looked anything but ready to go.

Shifting the competition to November-December, mid-season for most leagues, has increased the chances of players arriving during the summer due to Qatar’s unforgiving climate.

Herdman will not be the only coach at the tournament to weigh the risk-reward of using a player recovering from injury in the first outing, given concerns that using Davies too soon could exacerbate the problem. Means a long absence.

And while Canada is here to compete, the chances of beating Belgium aren’t high. So is it better for Fonzie to sit out and be safe than sorry?

Herdman also raised questions about the health of midfielder Stefan Eustaquio and goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Both were at the training ground where reporters were seen on Monday.

Some have suggested that it is all games on the Canadian side? That doesn’t seem to be Herdman’s style.

Or are Davis’ comments just a reflection of players wanting to play, as suggested by someone in Canada’s camp?

Maybe so – especially on the world’s biggest stage – but many players also know their bodies and know that cutting corners can lead to even longer layoffs. And Trump’s coach’s comments hours after his news conference are less than ideal.

Asked Monday how Davis looked, forward Ike Ogbo replied: “Really fast as normal.” And he left it at that.

Others suggested less caution

On Sunday, forward Jonathan David said Davies’ fitness announcement was “a big boost, because we know how important a player he is for us and what he brings to the team.”

Then he added: “So, of course, if he’s 100 percent, we’re all happy.”

Veteran midfielder Jonathan Osorio said: “He’s our star player. He’s a very important player for us … We’ll see what the medical staff (says) when they check with the coaching staff. In the end they decide, Along with Alfonso if he’s ready to go.

Herdman will once again be front and center at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference. Davis won’t be there, but he’ll still be hard to miss.

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