Every now and again, the conveyer belt of footballers will pump out a few stars at an early age that will take the world by storm. A few examples of late include Brazil's Neymar, France's Kylian Mbappe and Norway's Erling Haaland. However, there's one name from Canada that has heads turning wherever he goes.
Alphonso Davies has made waves in football signing for Bayern Munich at 18 years old for $22 million USD. The Canadian international has made nearly 50 appearances for the Bavarians, and his left footed prowess is likely to be much sought after in the years to come.
Davies added to his rapidly growing resume at 16 years of age by becoming the youngest player to appear for the Canadian national team. He scored two goals against French Guiana at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and became the youngest to score for Canada, youngest to score at the Gold Cup and the first player born in the 2000's to score at a top-level international tournament.
Davies' former manager Carl Robinson reveals his admiration for Davies as a junior at just 15 years old. The winger's skill impress Robinson enough to sign him to a contract almost immediately and bring him into the senior set up at Vancouver Whitecaps.
Robinson recalled to Tribalfootball.com, "I saw him at 15 years old while he was playing among the youth ranks at Edmonton Strikers in Canada. We watched him in a game, and immediately I asked him to train with the first team. I personally made the call after one game, he had something different that I saw and we needed to nurture.
"After the first time he trained with us, the senior players were telling me they wanted him called him into the squad, so I made the moves to have him signed to a reserves contract. It's fair to say I threw him in the deep end at 15 years of age and he flourished. He had two full seasons with us, he made his debut at 16 years old, at the time he was the youngest player in the MLS and performed regularly in front of crowds of 15,000 people."
Davies played under the tutelage of Robinson at Vancouver for two years before the German giants came knocking. At the time Davies was talented to have taken his game anywhere in the world, as Robinson reveals the interest for the Canadian was rife around the world.
The Welsh manager further illustrates his point by explaining his criteria for players. Having played alongside Thierry Henry at the New York Red Bulls, Robinson was able to ask the Frenchman about Arsene Wenger's selection methods for players, and he could see plenty to work with after scouting Davies in Edmonton.
"There were a few key factors he looked at - technical, tactical, physical. As a manager I look at those same qualities, and Alphonso has unbelievable, natural ability due to his athleticism. I could see it was raw potential, he just needed the right kind of guidance and coaching.
"Whenever you have someone about 15 or 16 years of age playing first team football it gets flagged by the big clubs. On our preseason tour of Wales, it wasn't just your usual suspects like Liverpool or West Ham, but Swansea and Crystal Palace had some serious interest, but they didn't exactly agree with his value at the time.
"Bayern were interested 18 months prior to him signing, they kept regular contact and made him feel warm, welcomed and valued. It came as no surprise to me, it's a big credit to him and Bayern for taking the risk. Goes to show his talent wasn't just seen in our eyes, but by one of the biggest clubs in the world."
Robinson, now coach of Newcastle Jets, continued to heap praise on the youngster, as his work ethic and mental fortitude are qualities seen in legends of the past and the superstars of tomorrow.
"Alphonso himself deserves the credit for earning such a huge move. He's got a great mentality, an unbelievable work ethic, he loves to dance, sing and be the cheeky centre of attention."