Rangers: Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill shares thoughts on possible Steven Davis retirement
Michael O’Neill admits it would be “really sad” if Rangers midfielder Steven Davis was unable to play for Northern Ireland again through injury.
Davis, who turns 39 in January, has been sidelined since last December after suffering a double ACL tear.
The former Fulham and Southampton ace told Rangers TV [15 November] this week that he is unsure if he will be able to continue playing or not.
Northern Ireland boss O’Neill hopes that is not the case, as he wants his captain to be given a fitting send-off one day.
“It’s nice to go out with something to remember and certainly Steven Davis deserves that,” he said, as per the Belfast Telegraph [17 November].
“Any player who has won over 100 caps deserves that opportunity to be on the pitch if it is one last night or whatever it may be.
“Hopefully, Steven can get himself to a point where he has the opportunity to do that.
“It would be really sad if such a great career ended with an injury that happened on the training ground.
“I know he is very focused to make sure that is not the case.”
Do what is best
First and foremost, Davis needs to make a decision that is best for him.
In his interview with Rangers TV, he implied that his immediate priority is to make sure he is simply able to walk properly for the rest of his life.
Davis’ Ibrox career is surely over in a playing capacity, given he turns 39 in January and is still a number of months off a return – if he does opt to go down that route.
More likely is that he will prolong his career elsewhere, or take up the option of a coaching role alongside Philippe Clement at Rangers.
The midfielder has been a superb servant for the Gers, and indeed Northern Ireland, having represented his country a staggering 140 times.
That makes him the most capped British player of all time, but the question is whether he will get the chance to add to those appearances?
Fingers crossed that Davis can step up his rehabilitation programme over the coming weeks and make a decision on his own terms, rather than being forced to call it a day.