Why is Alphonso Davies not playing for Canada in World Cup qualifying?

When Canada boss John Herdman named his team for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras, the United States and El Salvador, one name remained missing from the list. While the absence was expected, it is still apparent.

Alphonso Davies will not be available for Canada in this international window as he continues to recover from his battle with COVID-19 earlier this month. Following his positive test, Bayern Munich announced a diagnosis of “mild myocarditis” or inflammation of the heart. Canada followedannouncing that Davies would miss the entirety of the international window.

Playing with such a problem could be dangerous and so Davies will sit out indefinitely to recover, with no timetable for his return announced.

MORE: How long will Alphonso Davies be out?

“I don’t think there’s any excuse on our part in this time frame,” Herdman said of his squad’s announcement, with Davies absent. “I think we’ve shown that we’re strong, we’re resilient. This is going to be tough, but qualifying for a World Cup is never easy.”

What was said?

With Davies out, Canada’s head coach said he is disappointed not to have one of the best players on the team, but they will have to go on without his services at this point.

“First of all, we wish Alfonso the best of health and hope he recovers,” Herdman told OneSoccer in Canada. “We can’t deny that he’s a huge loss for a number of reasons. He has such an infectious personality when he’s in camp, and you miss him when he’s not here. But we have to adjust, it’s part of this story.

“We’ve been on this World Cup qualifying journey since March of last year, and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs with players coming in and out, and we’ve responded and I think that’s key to all of this. There’s a mentality in this group of that these things are going to happen, and now is an opportunity for someone else to respond and make sure we stay on track to qualify for the World Cup.”

How long is Alphonso Davies away?

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann told reporters on January 14 while providing an update on Davies: “Yesterday, during our follow-up exam that we do with every player who has had COVID-19, we detected signs of mild myocarditis, a inflammation of the heart muscle.

He’s stopped training for now, so he won’t be available to us for the next few weeks.

“This myocarditis is not too dramatic on ultrasound, but rather signs of inflammation. However, it needs to heal and that will certainly take some time.”

According to a report at the time citing the player’s agent, Davies was expected to be out for at least four weeks, which would see him return to Bayern Munich training in early to mid-February.

Alphonso Davies leads Canada in World Cup qualifying

There’s no arguing Davies’ importance to the way Canada plays, and his absence will be felt no matter who intervenes.

Davies has appeared in all but one game throughout this World Cup qualifying cycle, missing September’s 3-0 win over El Salvador due to knee problems. He has played the full 90 minutes six times and beyond the 80th minute five others.

In his seven Hex appearances, Davies has one goal and three assists, while Canada has three wins and four draws in the games he has played. Extending that to both stages, he has five goals and eight assists in all World Cup qualifying. The Maple Leafs haven’t lost in this World Cup qualifying cycle, including a perfect six wins out of six in the previous stage to qualify for the Hex.

The rise to stardom of Alphonso Davies

The 21-year-old burst onto the scene with MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps, making his debut for the club at age 15 in the 2016 season and making 66 appearances for the team. Davies really came alive in the 2018 season, scoring eight goals and assisting on a further 10 in 31 appearances.

That caught the attention of the European giants, and he completed a move to Bayern Munich in January 2019 for $11 million. That has proven to be a bargain for the Bundesliga side as Davies has become an important piece of a Champions League title contender.

Over two and a half seasons, Davies has amassed four goals and 10 assists, and has been cited among the best full-backs in the world. He was on track this season to see more minutes on the pitch than in either of his first two seasons with Bayern, but the recent diagnosis will likely derail that effort.