A no-nonsense defender

Known for his playing style of a traditional centre-back, Curtis Davies is not afraid to fling himself into tackles and put his own body on the line in order to protect his side’s goal. By Phil Winter.

Another international break again means more time off for Curtis Davies as the Hull City defender again ponders what he needs to do to break into the England squad.

Even the withdrawal of John Stones from the squad due to injury was not enough for Davies to finally get his chance as Calum Chambers was instead called up as his replacement for the EURO 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and San Marino.

Davies’s club manager Steve Bruce knows all about being overlooked by England and is widely regarded as the best English player never to pull on a Three Lions shirt.

Davies looks set to follow in his footsteps but even if an England call-up does not arrive any time soon, he at least has the consolation of having been a key part of Hull’s recent unprecedented success.

Back in May, the centre-back wore the captain’s armband and had the honour of leading the team out onto the Wembley pitch for their first ever appearance in the FA Cup final.

It capped a memorable first campaign back in the top flight after a three-year absence for Hull in which London-born Davies was named as the club’s Player of the Year and had Bruce singing his praises.

“He’s one of those who is not technically gifted but, by God, he makes the best of what he’s got,” said the Hull boss. “He’s a competitor.”

Known for his playing style of a traditional centre-back, Davies is not afraid to fling himself into tackles and put his own body on the line in order to protect his side’s goal. While his passing has at times been criticised, his phenomenal aerial ability both in aggressive and defensive capacities makes him an asset to the Tigers.

Davies started his career at Wimbledon as a trainee at the age of 15. By the age of 16, he had been released and was working in a supermarket stacking shelves.

It is such early setbacks which will help Davies keep things in perspective if an England call-up never arrives. He wrote to clubs across London asking for a trial and after failing to impress Colchester, he finally got his chance at Luton where he was handed a scholarship.

He made his first-team debut in 2003 and enjoyed his first promotion with the club at the end of the 2004/5 season after the Hatters finished 12 points clear of his current employers Hull.

At the end of a difficult season in the Championship, in which the defender only featured in six league games, Davies was spotted by Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, and was signed for GBP3million.

Despite making 35 starts for Albion, Davies experienced his first relegation as the side finished 19th, subsequently returning the defender to Championship life.

He then joined Aston Villa in July 2008 and went on to make 37 appearances for the club but his career was brought to an abrupt halt in September 2009 when a recurring shoulder injury forced him to undergo surgery.

Villa signed James Collins from West Ham and Richard Dunne from Manchester City as replacements for Davies, who struggled to recover from the injury and was sent on loan to Championship side Leicester City in 2010.

Davies and Hull City’s paths crossed again in October 2010 as the defender made his debut for Leicester against the Tigers in his first league game for 12 months.

A permanent move across the city to Villa’s rivals Birmingham saw Davies experience his first taste of European football, as a stand-out performance from the centre-back helped his side hold on for a goalless draw against Portuguese side Nacional in the UEFA Europa League play-off round first leg.

Bruce then made Davies one of his summer signings in June 2013 for a fee of GBP2.25million as the Tigers prepared for their first season back in the Premier League.

By the end of the season, Davies was widely recognised as one of Hull’s most influential players, and his ruthless consistency is considered by many to be the secret of the club’s current success.

His partnership with James Chester, who made his international debut for Wales against the Netherlands in June, has developed into a fruitful one, and with the addition of the experienced Michael Dawson in the 2014 summer transfer window, Hull's defence has a strong core.

It would appear Davies has not done enough to impress Roy Hodgson though. He was overlooked for England’s World Cup squad this summer and there is little to suggest he is close to getting the call that many would argue he deserves.

FACTFILE NAME: Curtis Davies POSITION: Defender CLUB: Hull City DOB: 15/03/1985

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Scoring in the FA Cup final in May to put Hull City 2-0 up against Arsenal inside 10 minutes.

MOMENT TO FORGET: Breaking a metatarsal in West Brom's game against Crystal Palace in 2007. He missed out on England under-21's first game at the new Wembley Stadium.

© PA Sport