Record-breaking Steven Davis plans to celebrate becoming Northern Ireland’s most capped player by leading his country a step closer to Euro 2020
- Steven Davis is set to become Northern Ireland’s most capped player of all time
- He wants celebrate by taking a step closer to the Euro 2020 finals in Sarajevo
- The 35-year-old midfielder will overtake legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings
- He’ll break the record against Bosnia the semi-final play-off that was postponed
Steven Davis wants to celebrate becoming Northern Ireland’s most capped player of all time by leading his country a step closer to the Euro 2020 finals in Sarajevo on Thursday.
The 35-year-old Rangers midfielder will overtake legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings on 120 caps when Northern Ireland face Bosnia at the Grbavica Stadium in a play-off semi-final that was postponed in March due to the pandemic. The winners will host Ireland or Slovakia at home in next month’s final.
‘We have to make sure we have no regrets. I have full belief we’ve got the ability to progress in this tie,’ said Davis who captained Northern Ireland to their first Euros in France four years ago.
Midfielder Steven Davis is set to become Northern Ireland’s most capped player of all time
‘If we could get through to the final it will be at Windsor Park and hopefully by that stage there could be fans there to see it, so it’s a good incentive — not that we need it.’
Davis made his Northern Ireland debut in 2005 and insists he has never thought of quitting international football despite the personal sacrifices it involves.
‘I’ve never given it any serious consideration,’ added the former Southampton player who, incredibly, had never spoken to Jennings until the 75-year-old called in to a radio interview to congratulate him on equalling the record against Norway last month.
‘It does take a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get to this stage. 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.
He wants to celebrate by leading his country a step closer to the Euro 2020 finals in Sarajevo
Davis will overtake legendary keeper Pat Jennings (above) on 120 caps when they face Bosnia
‘But it’s an incredible achievement and a great game to mark the milestone hopefully.’
There will be 2,000 fans in the ground for Thursday’s semi-final and new Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough hopes his players will draw extra motivation from a heartbreaking World Cup play-off defeat by Switzerland two years ago.
‘Without a doubt, they’ve got unfinished business,’ said Baraclough. ‘When you’re so close to a major tournament, they don’t want to go through the same feeling of disappointment.
‘I think that’s massive. To have that experience of losing games and knowing what it feels like makes you run that extra 10 per cent.
‘I know the Switzerland play-off was a two-legged affair, but they went into that second leg knowing it was all or nothing.’