Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies has admitted that he initially found the transition to Bundesliga from MLS “intimidating”.
The 19-year-old is 18 months into his stay at the Allianz Arena having signed from Vancouver Whitecaps and has been a regular in Hansi Flick’s starting XI, winning acclaim for his dynamic performances from left-back, from where he has scored three goals and created another eight in 42 first-team appearances this season.
But while everything is now going smoothly for the Canada star, life in Germany was initially daunting.
“I definitely found it intimidating,” he told the Men In Blazers podcast. “Me coming in as a young player from Canada, I didn’t know what to expect. The first training session was a passing drill. These balls are flying. The touch is crisp, the passing crisp. I was at the back of the line, waiting to pass the ball. I’m looking around thinking: 'This is amazing.'
“I did quite well and then the possession drill came. That’s when I struggled. The [quality of] passing is so high, the IQ of the players is so high and everything is just tip-top. When you see it on TV they make it look so easy and so casual, but when you’re actually there and experiencing it, it’s a whole other level.
"The first game I started at left-back was against Union Berlin. I was looking around thinking: ‘This is crazy.
“Once I got the ball, I was trying to make the first pass the easiest one to get myself in the game. It didn’t happen. It got caught between my feet and I almost lost the ball. I got the ball back after that and I made it easier and I started getting my confidence back.
“I tried to stay back and keep my position as much as possible because I didn’t want to get caught out of position. Errors here hurt you. That’s the difference between European football and MLS football.”
Davies performances over the course of the season were sufficient to claim the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season award ahead of the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram.