By James Gill
Just three games into last season Neil Taylor suffered a horrific injury against Sunderland resulting in a dislocated fracture of his ankle. After the initial worry for the player, many of the fans attention switched to who would fill in for Taylor after his outstanding rise over the previous two seasons, especially in the step-up to the top flight.
As a nervous looking Ben Davies first ran out onto the field to make his Swans debut, I wondered whether this was a temporary replacement before we signed a free agent. But Davies immediately put any doubts to bed.
From his first game Davies showed his intent and, surprisingly, his confidence on the ball. He also showed an overlapping prowess that added an extra element to Swansea's attack, while he was technically good in defence.
He even bagged himself a goal against Stoke using his wing-back mentality. Within months of making his debut, he received a Wales call up and earned his first cap, again replacing Taylor in the left back position (he has since made five appearances).
As each game went by this 19-year-old looked more and more comfortable, as if he'd been playing Premier League football for years. When Neil Taylor announced he was hoping to return before the end of the season, I did wonder how he would get back into the side. Davies hadn't put a foot wrong all season! How can you drop a player who had done everything that had been asked of him?
In his first season (37 games) Davies contributed one goal and two assists whereas Taylor has never scored a goal for the Swans and only has one assist to his name since arriving from Wrexham in 2010.
Davies created 18 chances last season compared to Taylor's seven. However Taylor does have a slightly better pass rate at 88% compared to Davies 83%. And these stats continue to shine through when you look at how they play for Wales.
As the season approaches I believe it will be Ben Davies who will start in the left back position. Because of unfortunate events Michael Laudrup only had Taylor in his side for three games last season, meaning the rest of the season he worked with Davies week in week out. Managers tend to stick to what they know and, as I've said before, Davies doesn't deserve to be dropped at the moment.
It's up to Taylor to win his position back, which will only ensure Davies keeps on top of his game. Taylor would be a great asset for any team outside the top four to have and I think it shows how far as a club we've come when we have quality such as him sat on the bench every week.
And with a European campaign looming, the quality we have in the two of them will allow us to rotate if needed and that gives us a great advantage.
Either way you look at it, all Swans fans will agree that it's a nice headache to have!