After what he describes as a “good think” during the summer, Adam Davies made a game-changing decision prior to the start of the new season.
The Barnsley goalkeeper underwent laser eye surgery to combat a niggling issue caused by wearing contact lenses. Now, as club captain in the final year of his current deal with the club, Davies is reaping the rewards.
“I’d wanted to have it done for a couple of years,” he revealed to goalkeepersunion.net.
“I made the decision this summer and I’ve noticed a massive improvement. With contacts in, I’d felt my eyes getting dry during games, especially at night. Floodlights can really affect that, so it really makes a difference.
“If other keepers have a similar problem, I’d definitely recommend it.”
The procedure, combined with an intense pre-season where Davies came back “fighting fit” after suffering relegation with The Tykes, saw the Wales international start the campaign with four straight clean sheets. Of goalkeepers to have played 10 or more games, only Blackpool’s Mark Howard and Bristol Rovers loanee Jack Bonham have since conceded less.
“I had a good think in the summer break and my main aim was simply to get back to enjoying football again,” he said.
“Everyone was given a clean slate, so I just kept my head down and worked as hard as I could. That hard work is now paying off, not just for me but for the entire team. The lads in front of me are doing their job, which makes my job a lot easier.”
A new approach has helped, too. The arrival of manager Daniel Stendel prompted Davies to adapt his game as more of a sweeper keeper, even to the point of studying clips of Germany No1, Manuel Neuer.
“With the way we press I’m expected to be there for the ball over the top,” he added.
“It was already one of my strengths, so I was able to implement it quite easily and the gaffer has been happy with that. He sent me some videos of Neuer and that’s only helped to improve my game – although don’t expect me to be running into the opposition half any time soon!
“As a goalkeeper, you never stop studying. I’m constantly looking to improve by observing top goalkeepers like David de Gea and Ederson. Different managers have different styles, so it’s a huge advantage if you can instantly adapt to those by having a better understanding of the game and watching how others do things.”
Davies is currently training with Wales ahead of Friday’s crunch Nations League clash with Denmark.