International Soccer
Davies provides short-term solution for England

By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - On any given weekend during the Premiership season, England manager Fabio Capello can be seen at four or five different stadiums around England, scouting out new talent for the Three Lions.

So it was convenient for both Capello and Bolton captain Kevin Davies that the Italian was in the stands at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday to watch Davies lead his team to a 4-2 win over Tottenham.

England's current striker situation ahead of a Nov. 17 friendly with France is not good, with Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent among others battling injuries, leaving Capello to look for a new face or two up top.

Newcastle's Andy Carroll has enjoyed a strong start to the current Premiership campaign with six goals to his credit, while Capello might have been at the Reebok on Saturday to get another glimpse of Tottenham's Peter Crouch.

But it was Davies who stole the show, scoring two goals and assisting on another for his surprising team, which ended the weekend in sixth place in the Premiership table.

At 33, Davies is not the kind of player whom Capello would groom as a future starter, he is merely a hard-working forward willing to do the little things it takes to help his team succeed.

Despite standing just six feet tall and weighing 170 pounds, Davies is routinely one of the best players in the air, and he showed that ability again on Saturday, knocking down numerous long balls for teammates Johan Elmander, Matthew Taylor and Stuart Holden to work off of.

Kevin Davies is a hard-working forward willing to do the little things it takes to help his team succeed.
Having scored two of Bolton's first three goals and with his team clinging to a 3-2 lead late in Saturday's contest, Davies flicked a brilliant header into the path of substitute Martin Petrov, who finished off the play to secure all three points for Bolton.

"Kevin ran the game from the first whistle," said Bolton manager Owen Coyle. "He dominated the game. If he wasn't scoring he was knocking things on.

"The great thing about Kevin is he doesn't have to score goals to contribute to a game but, when he does, it takes him to another level. He was unplayable."

Coyle has seen first hand how big an impact that Davies can have on a game, and hopefully for Davies, Capello took notice and will now consider giving the Bolton skipper his second England cap, with Davies earning his first call up in last month's 0-0 draw with Montenegro in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

On that day, Davies came on a substitute for the final 20 minutes of the game, and while there is no denying the fact that players like Rooney, Defoe, Bent and Crouch are more talented, the workman like approach of Davies might be just what England needs as it tries to erase the memory of another World Cup disappointment.

Qualifying for Euro 2012 is a must for Capello, who took plenty of heat after this past summer's woeful showing, and while there are younger options like Carroll who could play a big part in the future of the England team, for now at least, Davies offers an immediate solution.

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Contact Tim Keeble at tkeeble@sportsnetwork.com.

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