Rangers legend and Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis is so synonymous with his country that a future where he doesn’t take to the field with them almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
But even the most ardent follower of Norn Iron – like those at Rangers – understand that the Ulster Xavi certainly isn’t getting any younger.
Davo, 36, was involved as the Ulstermen downed Lithuania 4-1 last week but the veteran midfielder missed out in the nation’s next match with Estonia.
Remarkably, this was the British record international cap holder’s 127th international appearance.
Given Davis’ role in Rangers and Northern Ireland’s midfield – and his advancing years – the player needs to be managed effectively to maximise the twilight of his career.
Playing every single game for both Rangers and Northern Ireland probably isn’t conducive to this – even if Davo would play if he could – and the Windsor Park legend was rotated out for the friendly trip to Estonia.
It’s not the first time this has happened; Davis missed out completely on the last international break to earn some well-earned rest after a season which saw him play 58 times for club and country.
With the Estonia match only being a friendly, it was the perfect opportunity to not only rest Davo, but slowly transition into life without the influential midfielder.
There was a host of former Rangers players involved in the match with Kyle Lafferty, Jordan Jones and eventual matchwinner Shane Ferguson all playing.
Ferguson’s wonderstrike was the difference as Northern Ireland ran out 1-0 winners over Estonia in Tallinn.
— Newcastle Fans TV (@NewcastleFansTV) September 6, 2021
Next up for Northern Ireland is the visit of the Swiss in a match which could have huge ramifications in their efforts to qualify for Qatar 2022.
What a swansong that might potentially be for Davis at international level and the influential midfielder has urged Windsor Park to roar the side to victory on Wednesday [Belfast Telegraph].
Meanwhile, one of Steven Davis’ Rangers teammates has been showing exactly why a host of clubs from Europe’s top leagues were linked this summer.