At the start of this season it was pretty clear that midfielder Ben Davies wasn’t part of the club’s plans, he was a regular in the Under-21 side as his first-team prospects weren’t clear.
The former-Notts County winger was even offered loan moves elsewhere, the Rams agreed he could move but Davies wanted to stay at Pride Park and fight for a place in the squad.
After he made a substitute appearance in the bizarre Capital One Cup tie against Scunthorpe in August he wasn’t again seen in the first-team picture until he came off the bench in the goalless draw to Brighton, almost two months after his first appearance. That just demonstrates the apparent surplus to requirements status he had, the midfielder even made my ‘Nigel Clough’s Forgotten XI’ on my blog.
December was the month of breakthrough for Davies, a wonder strike by Ben, on as a sub, against Leeds marked a superb 3-1 victory for the Rams. A couple of substitute appearances were followed by a first start since the 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on the 14th April of last year. The ex-Shrewsbury man was handed a start at Charlton, which was proceeded by three more consecutive starts.
After a string of more bench action he was called upon to fill in at right-back due to a number of injuries within the squad. Davies showed his flexibility and reliability to give a good, accomplished performance despite a spell out of the starting XI. Since the turn of the year he’s bagged three goals, raising his season goal tally to four so far this season.
Since then, the Walsall-born player has sustained a key part of the team – both from the bench and from the off. His current contract with Derby expires at the end of this current campaign and there are plenty of calls for it to be extended, with I totally agree with. It is thought that he is set to be offered a new deal.
This season Davies has proved his importance to the club as a pivotal part of the squad, not necessarily as a week-in week-out starter but as somebody who can make an impact from the bench and step in when required.
Recently we’ve seen him make an impact and showed why he’s worth a new deal. A good and clean striker of the ball, Davies posses an added creative ability – so far this campaign he’s bagged six assists and does chip in with goals too.
The 31-year old’s story is a reminder of how players can turn around their position at clubs. Months ago I’d have never been saying he’s worthy of a contract extension but he certainly is, full credit to him.