Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has praised Rangers midfielder Steven Davis ahead of a record-breaking appearance, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
In a crunch Group C Euro 2020 Qualifying fixture against Germany on Monday evening, the 34-year-old will earn his 113th cap for his country.
That will ensure he becomes Northern Ireland’s most-capped outfield player of all time, surpassing Aaron Hughes’ tally of 112 which he equalled against Luxembourg on Thursday.
Rangers star Davis lauded by international boss
“Last night I was watching Cristiano Ronaldo play at 34 years of age for his country and what it means to him, and that’s why international football is so special,’ said O’Neill, as quoted by the Daily Mail. ‘Steven deserves to be talked about in that breath because I believe he will go on and break Pat Jennings’ record (119 caps).”
“Any player who amasses over a hundred caps at international level, that has played and been available for as long as Steven for every game barring a few that he’s missed through injury, is a fantastic role model for all international footballers.
“When he ever does hang up his boots, which hopefully will be after I’ve left this job, he will rightly be remembered as one of the greatest players we’ve ever had.”
Considering O’Neill is contracted with the IFA until 2024, it’s surely unlikely Davis will outlast the manager.
However, his recent form for Rangers suggests he has plenty of top performances left in him – be that at club or international level – and there’s no doubt Davis is one of the best players ever to hail from Ulster.
He’s been remarkably consistent for his country over the last 14 years, running the show in midfield time and time again and guiding his side to the Euros in 2016.
If he could steer his country to a second consecutive European Championships and help Rangers to a 55th top-flight league title, it would be a perfect, as well as record-breaking season.