Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill believes Steven Davis’ international achievements deserve the same recognition as Cristiano Ronaldo’s.
Northern Ireland captain Davis is all set to make his 113th international appearance in Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Germany.
The clash in Belfast will enable the Rangers midfielder to move up to second in Northern Ireland’s all-time appearance record list. Next up is the record-holder Pat Jennings, who won 119 caps for his nation in goal.
Therefore, O’Neill believes fans should talk about Davis in the same breath as Portugal star Ronaldo.
“I think it’s a great achievement,” O’Neill said on the 34-year-old’s feat.
“He pestered me all week to get five minutes against Luxembourg [last Thursday], and I eventually wilted under the pressure.
“Last night I was watching Cristiano Ronaldo play at 34 years of age for his country and what it means to him, and that’s why international football is so special.
“Steven deserves to be talked about in that breath because I believe he will go on and break Pat Jennings’ record.
“Any player who amasses over a hundred caps at international level, that has played and been available for as long as Steven for every game barring a few that he’s missed through injury, is a fantastic role model for all international footballers.”
Davis, who debuted for Northern Ireland in 2005, has been a valuable member of the team down the years. He even made a bit of history in Euro 2016 by becoming the first player to lead the national team in a major tournament in three decades.
O’Neil added: “He is still as effective at this level as he was when I took the job seven years ago.
“He’s had a magnificent career at both club and international level. When he ever does hang up his boots, which hopefully will be after I’ve left this job, he will rightly be remembered as one of the greatest players we’ve ever had.”
Northern Ireland, who sit top of Group C on 12 points from four games, will start their match against Germany at 20:45 (CET) on Monday.