10:18 23rd May 2013
. . . Ben makes the most of his opportunity for club and country
A senior Swans debut, a regular in the Barclays Premier League – and a first goal – along with lifting silverware and winning international recognition. It’s been some season for Ben Davies.
Last July, the Neath product was among the Swans squad on a tour of America holding hopes of getting a handful of first-team appearances under his belt.
Fast forward ten months and the 20-year-old’s football career has taken major leaps forward.
With a broken ankle ruling Neil Taylor out of contention for the majority of the campaign last September, Davies stepped into the role of Michael Laudrup’s first-choice left-back.
The youngster quickly stood up to the demands of Premier League – and international – football.
In his 44 appearances for the Swans, he also scored the opening goal in the home win over Stoke in January and a month later lifted the Capital One Cup after beating Bradford City in the final.
And to cap it off, national boss Chris Coleman also handed him his Wales debut, with Davies proudly having made five appearances for his country.
"It's been a great season," said Davies. "Over the next few weeks we'll look back and realise we've had a really special season.
"We have to be happy with all that we've achieved.
"I feel very proud when I look back on the last season, but I have to look forward now.
"I've got to keep doing what I'm doing and become a better player."
A modest and down-to-earth character, Davies has fitted in well within the Swans squad.
And despite facing competition next season from team-mate Taylor for the left-back role, Davies looks at it in a hugely positive fashion.
Taylor announced his return to action from injury when he came off the bench in the away defeat at Chelsea in April, and went on to start the narrow loss at champions Manchester United before a late cameo role in the final-day 3-0 reverse to Fulham.
But Davies feels the friendly rivalry will be beneficial to both players and manager.
"It's going to be a real competition between the two of us," Davies added. "It's something the two of us are really looking forward to.
"It will force the two of us to play at our best every week.
"It's a good thing that we're competing on an international level as well.
"We need to push each other as much as we can, and I'll be working hard to ensure I get that place."