Sheffield United saw off Stoke City at the weekend with a fine comeback victory at in front of a packed house at Bramall Lane, as Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick scored the goals.
The three points were more than deserved for the Blades. After falling behind to well-taken strike from Jacob Brown, United continued to plug away and got their rewards thanks to Slavisa Jokanovic’s substitutions.
However, it was in defence where a couple of United players delivered excellent performances. And among those good performers was Liverpool defender, Ben Davies, who is growing in stature in the red and white of United.
Davies, who arrived on loan from the Reds in the summer, has quickly developed a good understanding alongside John Egan. But away from his defensive duties, Davies is doing exactly what Jokanovic wants from his defenders with the ball, too. Indeed, it was Davies’ fine pass into David McGoldrick which initiated United’s equaliser.
Ben Davies excelling for Sheffield United
It’s taken a bit of time, but Davies is starting to look like the Rolls Royce defender he was at Preston. Indeed, our expert view from Preston told us that we can expect a defender who is good on the ball.
On Saturday, Davies showed a bit of everything. He put his body on the line to block two shots from Stoke. He contributed two well-time interceptions, but interestingly didn’t make a single tackle. Whether that reflects a player dealing effectively with the strikers without going to ground or not, is another debate. (Stats per Whoscored)
Importantly for this Jokanovic team, Davies was also on the ball a lot and comfortable on it as well. Of his 66 attempted passes, Davies completed an impressive 86.4% of them. Interestingly, only Enda Stevens attempted more passes, with Davies even getting on the ball as much as Oli Norwood.
The Liverpool loanee also completed six from nine long-balls. Again, this was better than Norwood, who completed eight of his 15 attempts.
So, while the clean-sheet might have evaded United again, Blades fans can be confident in Ben Davies at the back. And as time goes on, he should improve even more and become an even more influential presence.