Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has labelled Rangers star Steven Davis ‘phenomenal’, with the midfielder poised to break his nation’s all-time caps record [Northern Ireland Twitter].
Davis is just a few months away from his 36th birthday but is still very much a key figure for club and country.
He played the full 90 minutes of Rangers’ big Europa League qualifying win over Galatasaray on Thursday night and received an international call-up on Friday.
After drawing level with Pat Jennings on 119 appearances last month, Davis is set to become his country’s most-capped player when he dons the armband for the Euro 2020 play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina next week.
Baraclough doesn’t think he’ll stop there, though.
“It’s a phenomenal career he’s had so far, he’s far from calling it a day for me,” he told the Northern Ireland Twitter account. “He’s still playing at a really good level, with a great result the other night against Galatasaray.”
“Fingers crossed they [Davis and his NI teammates] get through this weekend’s [club] games. But, Steven, I think more than anybody, will be looking forward to this game and hopefully, he comes through and is able to lead us and break Pat Jennings’ record.
“120 caps? He wouldn’t have thought that when he first started out on the long road.”
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) October 2, 2020
Baraclough praises Rangers midfielder Steven Davis – Verdict
Davis struggled with his fitness during the opening weeks of the season and had an off day at Hibernian a fortnight ago.
His performances against Motherwell and Galatasaray showed why he’s still important for Steven Gerrard, though, and the veteran is even more pivotal for Baraclough.
15 years after making his debut, he is on the cusp of a remarkable achievement. He has experienced many highs and lows in the international arena but has shown remarkable durability, passion and quality as a mainstay in the team over such a long period.
Davis led his nation to their first major tournament for 30 years in 2016 and if the play-offs go to plan, he could skipper Northern Ireland in another European Championships next summer.