Player to watch in 2014/15: Curtis Davies (Hull City)


They do say that defensive players reach their prime slightly later in their careers, and Curtis Davies’ resurgence is a testament to that.

Davies has been around for a long time now, and maybe his early, abortive years in the Premier League have tarnished his reputation.  His time in the Midlands – with West Brom, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Birmingham City – is remembered as being both nomadic and, at times, rather erratic.  Davies has always been a very capable defender, but the majority of his twenties were very underwhelming; it always felt as if he wasn’t quite in the right situation, or that he didn’t have a centre-back partner who complemented his abilities or, indeed, that he wasn’t mentally capable of existing beyond the top of the Championship or the very bottom of the Premier League.

If you were being unkind, you might say that there have been times in Curtis Davies’ career when the highest level of the game has been a little too quick for him.

That is yesterday’s assessment, though, and the scouting report on him is very different now.

When England’s World Cup squad was announced, there was no shock at Davies being overlooked – he wasn’t involved in any of the preceding squads – but there was some disappointment.  While players such as Chris Smalling and Phil Jones traveled to Brazil off the back of being Manchester United players, Hull City’s Davies stayed in the wilderness and must have watched in dismay as England put in one of their worst defensive performances at a tournament for a long time.

And that’s really a mark of how far he’s come and how much he’s matured as a defender: he had every right to feel aggrieved at his omission.

His chances of ever actually playing internationally seem remote because, tediously, you suspect that while he’s at Hull he will always be overlooked.  Worryingly, that he didn’t even appear on Roy Hodgson’s radar prior to Brazil suggests that the England manager never took the chance to properly watch him – because if he had, how could he not be impressed with Davies’ 2013/14?

Davies has always had the physical attributes to play his position very well, but what he lacked up until last season – or, at least, what I had never noticed in him before then – was intelligence and composure.  He’s aerially very impressive, he’s a very clean, decisive tackler, but what marked him out last year was the ability to read the game and process it at a Premier League speed.

Maybe ‘maturity’ is the operative word here, because at 29 the rashness seems to have dissipated from Davies’ play and the reckless decisions which used to blight his game were very thin on the ground during his first season at The KC Stadium.

If this is the beginning of a personal renaissance, then Hull have a rock upon which they can build some lasting Premier League stability.

On a pure performance basis in 2013/14, he was arguably the most impressive English defender in the league.

9 Comments on "Player to watch in 2014/15: Curtis Davies (Hull City)"

  1. gjhdurham | Jul 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm |

    Tremendous FA Cup Final display too!

  2. graham tomlinson | Jul 17, 2014 at 6:06 am |

    same old story if not at top club no chance graham

  3. LewesTiger | Jul 17, 2014 at 5:03 am |

    Davis did have the odd rash moment last season (twice in my view) and both came against Southampton with Hodgson watching to be fair to Roy. However his stats put him as the number 2 Centre Back in the PL. Perhaps Roy would be better using stats in his selection process.

  4. Wow did Hodgeson get his defense wrong or what? Davies would have been a huge presence in Brazil, and it’s a shame Roy wasn’t bothered to even look at a lower table player. Keep it going this season Curtis! UTT

  5. Jack Wilson | Jul 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm |

    If Hodgson chose a squad based on form rather stature of club, Davies would certainly have been chosen over Jagielka, who only played a handful of games in the 2014/14 season compared to Davies. A coach like Harry Redknapp would have no issue dropping a big name star for a player in form.

  6. Norman redmond | Jul 16, 2014 at 9:57 pm |

    Hodgeson watches with blinkered eyes, if your not at a..”top of the table team” he won’t see you, but we see him every day and thank you Steve Bruce for bringing him here, along with a few other good players.. Onwards and upwards….

  7. If Curtis had played for England at the World Cup we would have got to the semis. Simple FA r

  8. Carl Conlaund | Jul 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm |

    Hello……Top notch – The best consistent defensive player in the PL last season…..Hull City will be a force in the PL this season – BEWARE.

  9. True assessment

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