A player who learned how to coach youth players in New Zealand is reportedly set to join the coaching staff of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
Chris Davies (38) is expected to join new manager Ange Postecoglou at the London club, despite being the favourite to take over as head coach of English Championship club Swansea City, the Daily Mail says.
Davies’ coaching career has blossomed since spending three years in New Zealand, coaching young teens for Hawkes Bay United and Team Wellington.
Main photo: Chris Davies … building a successful career in coaching and football management. Photo: Chris Davies LinkedIn page.
English-born Davies moved to New Zealand in 2007, in his early 20s, as he tried to resurrect a playing career disrupted by arthritis.
‘I went home and cried all night’
After playing age group football for the Wales U-17, U-19 and U-20 national teams, and playing professionally for Reading, he was told an arthritic condition in his foot would limit his career.
“I took all that information on board and I was absolutely exhausted by it. I went home and cried all night,” Davies said.
With the encouragement of his former academy coach, Brendan Rodgers, Davies set about learning to coach.
The UK Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) suggested he go to Loughborough College as an adult student.
“I went to Loughborough and studied for three years and did all my coaching badges with the PFA,” Davies said.
“It was very hard, because I hadn’t done much at school. But I just took all the dedication and attitude and commitment I’d put into playing and channelled into my study,” he told Hawkes Bay’s SportToday.
With a UEFA B Licence and a first class degree in sports science to his name, Davies looked abroad for coaching experience.
“I had the option of joining the academy at Chelsea or going back to Reading and their academy. But I wanted to see a bit of the world, so I emailed clubs in Australia and New Zealand about playing and working over there.”
Three years in New Zealand as a player and coach
Hawkes Bay United’s Jonathan Gould was the first to make a serious offer, inviting Davies to help coach at the club’s academy.
“Arriving here and not being able to train is the worst thing in the world, but I’ve just got to be mature about it and get stuck into doing the other things I have to offer,” he told SportToday after his arrival.
However, with careful management of his body, Davies played more than 40 national league games for Hawkes Bay United and Team Wellington.
He spent two years coaching players aged 12-16 for Hawkes Bay United, and then a year as Team Wellington’s U-16 academy coach.
In 2010, he returned to the UK and reunited with his mentor, Rodgers, who had taken the manager’s job at Swansea City.
Davies, then 25, was Rodgers’ head of performance analysis as Swansea played their way into the English Premier League.
Next up, he and Rodgers moved to Liverpool where Davies was a first team assistant coach for three years.
He then spent six months at Reading as the club’s youngest-ever first team coach, aged 30, before rejoining Rodgers as assistant manager at Scottish giants Celtic.
‘He’s very much in the same mould as Brendan (Rodgers)’
In 2019, he moved with Rodgers to become assistant manager at Leicester City. He and Rodgers left the Foxes in April 2023.
Journalist Jordan Blackwell, who covers Leicester City for LeicesterLive, told Wales Online the relationship between Rodgers and Davies had helped prepare Davies for a future career in management.
“It always felt like he (Davies) was very much in the same mould as Brendan.
“They were very similar in terms of personality. I don’t think they would have worked together for as long as they did if they were contrasting personalities.
“They had very similar opinions on things and I think probably very similar styles of play and how football should be played.
“I think Rodgers also probably likes people he sees a bit of himself in, and the fact they’ve had similar career trajectories in terms of having to retire from playing very early, has probably helped the relationship.”