Rangers veteran Steven Davis put in a magnificent display to break Italian hearts in a World Cup Qualifier – and sadly mused over it being a retirement swansong come full-time.
There has been much conjecture surrounding the legendary Ibrox midfielder and his future with the Northern Irish national team as Davo, 36, looks to extend his playing career.
But the midfielder certainly didn’t look like his age affected him as he strutted his stuff around the Windsor Park pitch and bossed the European Champions.
Davis didn’t look out of place against the likes of £50m Chelsea star Jorginho, Inter’s Nicolo Barela or AC Milan’s Sandro Tonali.
Whilst the result did little to alter Norn Iron’s World Cup Qualifying campaign, it has wide-reaching ramifications in Group C with a Cedric Itten-inspired Switzerland nabbing top spot as a result of the 0-0 draw.
The scoreline also meant that Northern Ireland have gone the entire campaign without conceding at home with Windsor Park in Belfast a fortress and results on the road costing them.
Prior to this international break – Davis’ last until March next year – there was much talk about the player’s potential retirement from international duty.
Come the final whistle, the midfielder reflected on his personal situation and admitted that there is some “difficult” decisions on the horizon.
Rangers star Steven Davis facing “difficult decision” over retirement
“Yeah, listen it’s going to be a very difficult decision whenever day that comes,” said Davis [BBC Sport].
“You know how much I cherish pulling on the Northern Ireland shirt.
“The moments I’ve enjoyed in the shirt, the backing I get from the fans since I first came into the side, so when that day comes it’s not going to be easy to accept.
“I also need to think. I spoke about it saying I need to reflect on the campaign after it, speak to the manager, speak to my family.
“I think looking forward to the Euros is the most important thing for our country and giving ourselves a good chance to do that.
“Obviously the younger players coming through, you want them to get experience as well, maybe in the games coming up, so those are conversations for another day.
“Just delighted to finish the campaign on a high.”
Come the final whistle against Italy, Davis was the final player off the pitch and was filmed interacting with and giving some jerseys to young fans.
In a touch of class, this moment showed the leadership and dedication which has allowed Davis to become the most capped British male footballer in history (132 and counting).
🔝 Class player and an even better person.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 16, 2021
But when asked about waiting to come off the park, Davis was coy over whether or not it was because he might not be back in the same capacity as a player and captain ever again.
“Whenever that day comes, it’s going to be very difficult but listen I love pulling on the Northern Ireland shirt. It’s another special night,” said Davis.
“I love playing in front of the fans here. I would like to think I’ve got more to come but I don’t know.”
Davis has also been speaking the exit of Steven Gerrard this week and gave a reassuring take on the situation with the former Ibrox manager.