Football/Soccer

NI skipper Steven Davis determined to move closer to Euro 2021 place

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis will break the appearance record of Pat Jennings tonight against Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

European Championship qualifying semi-final, League B: Bosnia & Herzegovina v Northern Ireland (Sarajevo, 7.45pm Irish time)

REGRETS, he’s had a few, but Steven Davis still hopes that his family holiday plans for summer 2021 will be a case of ‘my way’.

He’ll turn 36 next New Year’s Day but the Northern Ireland captain has no intention of retiring from the international stage. Instead, he’s aiming to lead his team into another tournament.

Tonight he’s set to augment his already stellar reputation by overtaking Pat Jennings as NI’s most-capped player, with 120 appearances.

A victory tonight, followed by another in the League B path play-off final against either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland in Belfast, would mean mixed feelings for the Davis children, but they’ll be fully supportive of dad:

“I’ve never been to any of my three kids’ first day at school or anything like that because of the way international football falls.

“You do miss out on things but that’s the sacrifices you make and my wife and kids are fully behind me.

“They love getting over to the games and it’s a great experience for them. Obviously going to the last Euros was brilliant for them, too, and it is a reward for them for all the sacrifices they make too to make it possible.”

‘Davo’ probably won’t surpass the longevity of ‘Big Pat’, who played for NI until he was 41, but he hasn’t contemplated retirement:

“I’ve never given it any serious consideration. There are times you come away off the back of a disappointing result and you’re disappointed and frustrated but I genuinely have never gotten to a point where it is something I’ve seriously considered.

“It’s always been a pleasure to play for Northern Ireland and be a part of the group. In the last number of years we’ve had a bit of success and it’s something we’ve all been able to enjoy.”

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Football/Soccer