Alphonso Davies exits the Bayern Munich match clutching his right hamstring.
With less than two weeks until the start of Canada’s World Cup campaign, this news could not have come at a worse time for John Herdman.
It must have been a stunned John Herdman, not to mention all Canadian footy fans, that watched on as Alphonso Davies pulled up in the pursuit of a Hertha Berlin player in the 63rd minute clutching his right hamstring in today’s Bayern Munich match.
The severity of the injury is as yet unknown, but Davies suffered a mild hamstring injury last year and only missed a week. Bayern’s medical team is among football’s best and Canadian soccer fans’ hopes will be resting on their capabilities.
Alphonso Davies had to come off after appearing to suffer an injury.
The World Cup is in two weeks 😢 pic.twitter.com/mBt7uEcULl
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 5, 2022
Until recently, the risk of holding the World Cup in mid-season, and the toll injuries would take were not widely discussed. Despite an early start to the European leagues’ seasons, clubs have been compelled to play an increased number of matches within a shorter time span to accommodate the unprecedented November/December World Cup schedule.
Canada has already lost CB Scott Kennedy for the tournament due to a shoulder injury, and the team waits with bated breath as Jonathan Osorio, Atiba Hutchinson, and David Wotherspoon race to get fit before World Cup rosters are to be submitted in little more than a week.
This injury phenomenon is not restricted to Canada, as France has already ruled out Paul Pogba, Germany has lost Timo Werner, Portugal will be without Diogo Jota, and the Netherlands Georginio Wijnaldum.
When asked about the impact of losing Scott Kennedy for the tournament John Herdman replied, frankly,
“Every game we’re monitoring, you’ve got that awful pit in your stomach that you’re going to lose a critical player”
One can only imagine the size of that pit right now. Should Davies miss any or all of the World Cup games Herdman will need to improvise his tactics and lineup, as he did for nearly half of the CONCACAF Octagonal qualifying games, as so much of Canada’s offense goes through the left-sided maestro.
While Canada’s ‘brotherhood’ has embraced the next-man-up philosophy, Davies’ absence will not be easily circumvented. Despite Canada’s success in the Octagonal with Davies absent, including sweeping all nine points in the January window, CONCACAF’s quality is not on par with Canada’s World Cup opposition.
Should Davies miss any amount of time, Herdman will have options, such as Liam Millar, Junior Hoillet, or Tajon Buchanan to occupy the left-sided attack role. Davies’ absence will likely guarantee a spot on the team for Theo Corbeau, as cover for the right side when the likes of Hoillet and Buchanan shift left. Of particular interest is the competition it will stoke among a handful of MLS players invited to the Bahrain camp, like Jacob Shaffelburg and Raheem Edwards.
In his post-game comments, Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann stated Davies’ injury was at least a hamstring strain according to the team doctor. He added that further scans tomorrow will reveal the extent of the injury with greater certainty.
For now, we can just hope for the best-case scenario and that Davies’ injury withdrawal today was precautionary and not a long-term injury.