This edition of 20 Questions is brought to you by our partners at New England Airfoil Products (NEAP).
Welcome back to 20 Questions: the series where we help you better get to know the players on this year's squad. For previous interviews in this series, we went behind the scenes with Noah Paravicini, Aiden Mesias, Mac Steeves, Kevin Politz, Gabriel Torres, Cheno, Harry Swartz and Alex Dixon. In this edition, we caught up with second year center back Alex Davey who joined the team in the middle of last season. Enjoy!
1) What's the weirdest thing that's happened to you over the past two months since we went into quarantine?
AD: That’s a good question. I learned to cut my own hair, which I never thought I would do because I only trust a couple of people to cut my hair which are certain barbers I know, but it got to the point where I was like, ‘out comes the clippers’ and I just went for it. To be fair, it didn’t come out too bad so it was sort of a weird thing to do because I'm not that sort of person to do that.
2) What's the funniest thing that's happened to you over the past two months?
AD: Probably buying a bike actually, to do something different. I’ve gotten so bored, so I said, ‘I'm getting a bike’ and I've bought a bike now. I've been cycling which is good. Funniest wise, it’s not the funniest but I haven't really done much to be honest. I make myself laugh at home quite a bit I'll be honest. I do some stupid things and I laugh at myself but apart from that I haven't really done too much.
3) Tell me about the biking a little bit. Is that something that you do a lot of?
AD: Yes, obviously I don't drive. Back home, I still don't drive either. I always used to cycle back home. I love cycling whether it was trails or whatever, but coming over here I've been trying to do some running, but for me, my knees and my growing pains, that doesn't really allow me to do that on the road running and 3G running doesn't really help me. So I just went down a different avenue of a road bike. This is the first time I've got a road bike so I purchased it off of a really good company and I’ve got me a nice road bike. I've done 50 miles now in the last week and a half, which is quite good. I just like to get out and I cycled from Rocky Hill to to West Hartford reservoir the other day which was I think 32.5 miles. But it was really nice and then also done the yoga there as well which is quite cool.
4) Do you find that biking translates in a way to helping your match fitness?
AD: I definitely think leg-wise, it's so good for your legs, my legs are so tight now and I feel like I've got a really good workout, but it also just eases - you know, I’m six foot four, so me running all the time, I just feel in my knees a lot, so I can't really do that too much. So it's not the same, but it does replicate like some fitness of your legs because it's not too bad on your stamina. It’s more your legs, which I quite like that sort of work.
5) You guys are doing a lot of film work since you can't physically practice. What have you learned from coach's film sessions?
AD: it's been really good, to be fair. At the start it was a bit repetitive, but I think we understood that there was something new that we were doing. But now we switched it up. Last week, we watched a Leicester City documentary which was really interesting not only to watch it, but to hear other people's opinions and views on different aspects of football and life as well, which was interesting. But it's been really good. For me, when we review the games, it's not something I enjoy because I actually, I don't know if I've told you, I don't actually watch football, I don't enjoy watching football. And I've been like that since I was probably about 14 now. I love playing it, but to watch a football match, I don't find it entertaining. But it's been good to study the game more and actually have to look into it a bit more, which, that entertains me a little bit more and we write back to the coaches and players and we discuss games and how it relates to Hartford athletic and what can we take out of it and and it's been really good too.
6) Why don't you enjoy watching soccer?
AD: It’s not that I don't enjoy watching it, I just get bored of watching it, you know? I just don't have the same feeling I get when I play. I get a buzz when I play, I love winning, I love getting involved in drama and when I’m watching football I don't feel that. It doesn't give me any entertainment like that. I've had the opportunity when I was at Chelsea to go to a Champions League game against Barcelona and I never went. It wasn't something that was like, ‘wow I really need to go see this.’ People asked me, ‘Oh, how can you do that?’ and then I reply with an answer of, ‘You make doors for a living. Would you now go home and watch people make doors, the whole day or a weekend?’ You wouldn't do it, you wouldn't go on TV and watch someone make doors, so you know it's just one of those things. It's my job. I enjoy watching people that I know playing, I can do that, but if it's just a game, I don't get much out of it.
7) What sports do you enjoy watching?
AD: I enjoy watching tennis, golf, rugby. I haven't really watched American football, I don't really understand it too much, it seems to be quite entertaining but there's too many stop starts for me. But yeah, tennis, rugby, golf, that's probably about it. Formula One sometimes is pretty cool to watch.
8) If you could go to any sporting event, what would it be?
AD: Oh, wow. Well I've been to a golf tournament, I went down last year to New Jersey and watched the golf, that was amazing, but I've done that. I would love to see the Olympics or something like that. Some really big stage and turn up for the week of finales and semi finals and up for the hundred meter sprints or some other would be really good to watch.
9) How does Coach Jaidi compare to other coaches that you've played for?
AD: He's interesting. He's very open. He wants, which I think is really good, honesty between the players and staff, so if there's any problems with the players, then he wants us to say it, and we can be honest with either any of the staff members or any of the players and likewise when the staff has problems. Obviously he’s studied a lot of the game and obviously played the game at a high level. So football, knowledge-wise, especially being a center half is good to learn off him. I think we're sort of similar people, at least I feel like we are. We know we have the same sort of interests which is good to know. He's been really good so far. Obviously it's frustrating that we didn't get to start the season properly but I feel like him and the whole staff as well have done really well to keep us occupied throughout this whole time.
10) You mentioned briefly that you guys were similar and obviously, both of you being center backs, has that helped your development at all?
AD: Yeah, definitely. Obviously preseason it's tough to really gauge how you're doing until you start playing the games, but in the games I did play, in the training I did, I felt comfortable. I felt like I was learning as well. And that’s something I want to do as well. I think a lot of players that are at my age now start to think, ‘I can't learn anymore, I can't do anymore,’ but this is your prime time now,, especially as a center half, they say 27 to 30 is when you are your best time as the second half. So I'm still learning so much and there’s still so much more I can do to become a better player and to move on and play at a really high level. So it's just good to learn with him and see how he played through how he talks, if you know what I mean.
11) Messi or Ronaldo?
AD: Ronaldo for me. I think Messi is a great player, but I would watch Ronaldo. He would do something spectacular. He's just an entertainer for me, how he is off the pitch is how he is on the pitch. He’s got a big ego and I enjoy watching him.
12) What is your favorite thing that you've eaten in the USA?
AD: Oh, Chick-fil-A all day long. Oh my god that thing's amazing. I just get the normal Chick-fil-A burger, but then I get about 24 Chick-fil-A sauces and an Oreo milkshake.
13) What are the biggest differences in your eyes between football in America and football in England?
AD: For me, the biggest one is physicality. I just feel like it's a lot more aggressive. I don't know whether that's to do with being relegated and promoted - it might have a lot to do with it really. It might make the games more competitive. But I can definitely say physicality. You can see me in some of the games getting yellow cards, but there's not that same anger in a game over here that there is back home, you know? Back home, you can have a fight every five seconds with someone, or you're punching someone or you're hitting someone on the sly or you grabbing someone. That doesn't happen over here, it's not frowned upon, but people seem to not get involved in that.
14) Do you like that or dislike that?
AD: I like winding people up. I like trying to get in people's heads. I like the physicality, I like the contact. I wouldn't say I love smashing people 24-7 because I like to play out, I love to be on the ball. But I do enjoy a big tackle down there or putting my body on the line now and then, which is obviously an important part of the game as well.
15) What are your long term career goals?
AD: Well I really want to get into the MLS, it’s something that I've said when I moved over here, and why I moved over here was to be in the MLS. I think I've got a good shot that I can try and do that. It's a shame this season hasn't started because in my head, this is going to be my season, I’m going to do really well. Obviously, that can still happen. But if it wasn't the MLS, I'd love to stay at Hartford and make something at Hartford, because I feel like the community and what the club's got with the fans is something quite rare, because it's such a homely feel which is amazing. So it’d either be a move to the MLS or just try and make a career at Hartford and see where we can go you know? I haven't really spent more than one season at a team since I've left Chelsea. So for me to be here again this season was a big step for me.
16) I've been able to witness, many times, you're so great with our fans, specifically with kids. Where does that come from?
AD: I just enjoy seeing kids smile. I enjoy being able to be their role model, I enjoy giving something back to them because when I was a child, I was around football my whole life, so, if I saw an older guy come up to me and they spoke to me, it made my day. But also my family, there were never any rules with me, so I was allowed to go to my best friend's house every day, I could go on a cycle ride, I could go to the park, I could go and play out in the garden. There wasn't like ‘no you can't do this you're grounded,’ it was never like that, so I think how I've been brought up is how I am with people in general, I'm pretty easygoing. I like to see people smile, I like to make people laugh. I don't mind making a fool out of myself to make people laugh. But with the kids, I just love seeing them smile. I think it's the least I can do, you know? A lot of the fans spend a lot of money traveling to these games and if I can give a little bit of something back then, you know, my job's done there.
17) Was there any player that you looked up to when you were younger who did something like that for you?
AD: My best one is my John Terry story. So my first loan at Scunthorpe, I played a game, and then got back to the hotel and then received a message, and it was obviously a random number. And then he was like, ‘Hey mate it’s JT here, just let you know, good luck with your first loan, if you ever need anything let me know and I'll try and do my best to help you out.’ So he'd gone out of his way to get my number and text me and that was something to look up to, to remember in the years to come, that it doesn't take a lot of time to do that. And it made me smile and made me so happy I was getting goosebumps when he texted me because he was like ‘this is JT,’ and I was 19 at the time so it was a big thing for me. And that gave me sort of a kick on as well, he cares, he actually is interested in what I'm doing, and I had a really good season that season.
18) Do you think that's impacted the way you are as a teammate?
AD: Yeah, because I'd like to see myself now as I've got older and gained more experience, I'd like to see myself as a leader and I think my experiences and environments I’ve been in, especially being back home, the changing rooms over here are a lot different back home. It’s a lot more brutal back home. Some of the things that have been said to me, you wouldn't get away with saying that in any other job. Over here it's a lot, I wouldn't say tamer, but it is a bit softer. So it's good sopping wet experience and get people fired up a little bit. I'm not afraid to say something, because if someone was to say something to me I can take it. We had a great changing room last year but we've also got a fantastic changing room this year. The young lads are very grown up and mature, there's no kids in the team, you know, you could say we're a bunch of kids but we're not, we're grown men because you know everyone's done their own path and everyone's on their own path so we've got a good team this year as well.
19) If Alex Davey wasn't a soccer player what would he be?
AD: I would be working with my dad. He’d laugh if he knew I said that, but before I came over here, I worked him for a couple of months in a joinery business so it's basically bespoke wooden doors, or wooden frames, or wooden windows or big outhouses, he makes all those from hand, and I worked with him and I love doing that. You can't explain the amount of time that goes into making a window. It’s literally crazy and I didn't believe it until I started making them as well and I was like, ‘wow this is mental.’ So then when you finally make the window, and fit it and then someone goes, ‘Wow, that's amazing,’ it's all your own hard work. You get out what you put in, so it's a nice job, it's a tough job, but I’d definitely work with him. I actually really enjoyed working with him as well because I spent a lot of time with him. Over the years, I wasn’t really able to because I moved out when I was 16 for full-time football, so it was nice to spend that sort of quality time as well.
20) What advice would you give to a younger player?
AD: Just make sure you're always enjoying football. As soon as you lose the enjoyment, at a young age, try and maybe think of something different because to enjoy football now is tough. It is my job now, there are people’s jobs on the line, so it becomes a lot harder to enjoy it. Even though you still have to, it becomes a lot harder. So if you're not going to enjoy it as a kid, then you're not going to enjoy it as an adult, but I'd say just enjoy it, have fun, play with your friends, don't get too worked up about it. I remember as a kid, I used to get myself so worked up about things, and it didn't matter, it's not worth it. So just enjoy it, have fun and see where it goes. Don't put too much pressure on yourself.