One to Watch - Kevin Davies
Name: Kevin Davies
Date of Birth: 26/3/1977
Former Clubs: Chesterfield, Southampton, Blackburn, Millwall
League Appearances (Goals): 554 (106)
International Appearances (Goals): 1 (0)
Stat of the Day: Kevin Davies created more scoring opportunities from open play than any other Premier League player in the 2010/2011 season.
This season`s 'One to Watch` section will look incredibly different to last. Mainly due to the fact that, instead of having to trawl through squad profiles trying to find a player that actually may loosely be considered as someone worth watching, I will be able to close my eyes, place my finger on the squad list and be able to construct something on a world-class player, regardless of who`s been selected. Reading this section each week may be a daunting prospect for any QPR fan, as no longer will we have to worry about the problems Barnsley striker Andy Gray will cause us, but merely the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Fernando Torres et al.
Despite momentarily considering opting for a 'One to Watch` of the Bolton physio room, it was decided to profile frontman Kevin Davies. Having been at The Reebok since 2003, making over 300 appearances and scoring 61 league goals, it would be hard to not describe the 34 year old as a Bolton icon. The Trotters` captain epitomises his teams fighting and bullish spirit, and will be at the forefront of Bolton`s hard-working attacking display on Saturday. Slightly reminiscent of our very own - and ex Bolton - Heidar Helguson, Davies is not blessed with very much pace (in fact, no pace) and uses his experience to manoeuvre himself cleverly around the football pitch. The striker will win the majority of his headers and will often find himself in clever positions to create chances and, importantly, score goals. QPR defenders will probably have a tough time of going up against the former Chesterfield man, as Davies committed the most fouls out of any player in the Premier League last season (123 to be exact). Admittedly, Davies doesn`t quite possess the panache and finesse of a Nani or Suarez, but the Englishman will provide a stern and hostile welcome to the Premier League for our players.
Davies started his playing career at Chesterfield, making his first team debut in 1993. He soon became an integral part of the Chesterfield team, as he was involved in his teams charge to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1997, scoring a hat-trick against current club Bolton Wanderers along the way. Davies` 129 league appearances for the Spireites soon attracted attention from bigger clubs and he signed for Southampton in 1997 for a fee of £750 000.
Davies` first season for Southampton was an impressive one, as he managed to score 12 goals in all competitions in just 30 appearances. This impressive run of form saw Blackburn pay £7.5 million for the striker in July 1998, with fellow striker James Beattie going the other way. Davies didn`t have the happiest of times at Ewood Park as he only managed one league goal in 21 appearances for the club. Following Blackburn`s relegation, Davies re-signed for Southampton in exchange for Egil Ostenstad in 1999.
The striker struggled to cement a starting place and over the next four years was more often than not used a substitute at Southampton. A brief loan spell to Millwall, in which he scored 3 goals in 9 appearances, preceded a transfer to Bolton in 2003. Here, Davies rediscovered his best form and soon became a fans favourite. He ended his debut season at The Reebok by winning the club's Player of the Year award and scoring a consolation goal for his team in the 2004 Football League Cup Final against Middlesbrough in Cardiff.
A fruitful seven years followed, where Davies amassed 61 league goals for The Trotters, became captain in 2009 and earned an England cap in October 2010, at the age of 33. The 34-year-old will be hoping for another successful season under Owen Coyle, in a bid to improve a steady Bolton side.