Football

Alphonso Davies, 19, shows his versatility at Bayern Munich

Ghana-born Canadian international winger fills in at left-back amid injury crisis

Hailed as one of the "best players of his generation", versatile Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies started life in a refugee camp, but is now starring in the Champions League for Bayern Munich.

The Bavarian side could become the first German champions to win all six of their group matches when they host Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow morning (Singapore time). Both sides have qualified for the last 16.

GROUP B
BAYERN MUNICH TOTTENHAM

Davies, who turned only 19 last month, was on the bench in north London, when Bayern thrashed Spurs 7-2 in October.

However, serious knee injuries to first-choice centre-backs Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez have since catapulted him into the starting line-up.

A reshuffle of Bayern's back four saw Davies, who usually plays as a winger, taking over the left-back spot from David Alaba, who shifted to centre-back.

"Luckily, the coach sees something in me and plays me every week as a left-back or a winger, it doesn't matter," said Davies, who has played the 90 minutes in all of Bayern's last nine games.

"Whichever one he puts me in, I'm able to do the job."

When Borussia Dortmund were trounced 4-0 in the Bundesliga last month, Robert Lewandowski grabbed the headlines with two goals, yet it was Davies who subdued Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi down the left to help keep the visitors goalless.

Born at the turn of the century in a refugee camp in Ghana, Davies was still a child when he emigrated to Canada with his parents.

He became Canada's youngest international aged 16 and seven months, being named in the squad days after becoming a citizen.

Davies officially joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps on Jan 1 for a reported US$13 million (S$17.7m).

His Bundesliga debut came in late January, but he had to wait until last month for his first Champions League match, a 2-0 home win against Olympiakos.

He has also scored five goals in 17 internationals, including when Canada beat the United States for the first time in 34 years in the Concacaf Nations League in October.

He says he has learned from playing alongside Alaba.

"I have a guy like David Alaba beside me who is one of the best left-backs in the world and he's helping me out," said Davies.

"I'm very grateful for that. Being able to transition from a winger to a left-back was pretty easy for me because during my time at Vancouver I used to play there as well."

'VERY HUNGRY'

Alaba says Davies' performances prove he is "very hungry" to learn his trade at Bayern, where the pressure is constant.

It was Niko Kovac's decision to first switch Davies to left-back, yet when Kovac was sacked as head coach last month, interim boss Hansi Flick kept him in the same position.

He is already a fans' favourite at the Allianz Arena and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic expects him to become a regular fixture for years to come.

"We signed Alphonso Davies a year ago because we saw him as one of the best players of his generation," Salihamidzic told Munich newspaper AZ.

"We're delighted that this is now being confirmed with every game he plays." - AFP

Ja Morant stars with 26 points in Memphis’ win over Golden State

The Memphis Grizzlies used six three-pointers to bolt to a 24-11 lead yesterday morning (Singapore time), en route to a 110-102 NBA victory over the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.

Rookie star Ja Morant returned from a four-game layoff with back spasms to lead the way with 26 points and seven assists.

He helped the Grizzlies win for just the second time in 10 games.

The Warriors (5-20) finished a five-game road trip with a victory in Chicago on Friday and were trying to win straight games for the first time. - AFP

SELECTED SCORES: Houston 118 Sacramento 119, Milwaukee 110 Orlando 101, Indiana 99 LA Clippers 110.

Football