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Robinson exclusive on protégé Davies: Bayern Munich whiz proved me right; just like Bale, Cole

Carl Robinson has likened young star Alphonso Davies to legends such as Ashley Cole and Gareth Bale, claiming the Bayern Munich star has the perfect foundations to go far in his career.

The Welsh manager played maestro to Davies during their time together at Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS, and has watched him grow from a 15-year-old prospect into one of the most high rising teenage stars of today.

Robinson says he sees qualities in Davies that are almost identical to Arsenal and Chelsea legend Ashley Cole and current Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale. Which naturally begs the question, what is the best position for someone of Davies' talent and left footed nature?

While he may have been tested at different positions at youth level, Robinson was content to have Davies play left-back, a tactical choice which left many perplexed by the Welshman's decision. It was one that has paid dividends to Davies' game, developing his defensive awareness and giving him more room to work going forward in the field.

"At youth level I'd seen him play left-wing, central attacking midfield and centre-forward," Newcastle Jets coach Robinson told Tribalfootball.com.

"But at senior level football some experienced squads like to clog the middle of the field. His attributes are quick and strong, so I'd played him at left back.

"There's not much space to exploit at left wing, so by playing him from the back he has more room to join the attack from a deeper position. Similarly to Ashley Cole at Chelsea or Gareth Bale, they both started at the back in their careers, and I see the same in Alphonso. People questioned me for it, but seeing him prove them wrong just makes me smile."

Not every aspiring star can be discovered at such a young age however, as Robinson stressed the importance of timing in a footballer's career. For some it comes early, but for others it may take some hard work and dedication over a longer period of time.

"I won't play young players that aren't good enough or aren't ready, they've got to have the knowledge and trust of their coach to be put in the first team. When it's done at the right time it works fantastically.

"For Alphonso, he was playing first team football at 15, 16, and that put him on the radar. He was earmarked by top clubs who are out looking for the next best thing, and for Alphonso that resulted in his big move to Bayern.

"You never know what can happen in football. Bale nearly moved to Nottingham Forrest before he scored the hat trick against Inter Milan in the Champions League, a game that changed his career forever."

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Chris Sermeno

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