Steven Davis: Gareth McAuley backs NI and Rangers midfielder to keep playing

Gareth McAuley and Steven Davis
McAuley and Davis were Northern Ireland team-mates for over a decade

Steven Davis "still has lots to offer" as he closes in on Peter Shilton's UK men's caps record, says former Northern Ireland team-mate Gareth McAuley.

Davis, 36, made his Northern Ireland debut in 2005 and has won 124 caps, one fewer than ex-England keeper Shilton.

The NI captain could equal the record against Italy in March, in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier.

"He looks after himself well," McAuley told Sportsound Extra Time. "He's got plenty of miles left on the clock."

McAuley was speaking after midfielder Davis put in another influential display for Rangers in Saturday's 1-0 win over Celtic that extended their Scottish Premiership lead over their Glasgow rivals to 19 points.

"He's got a lot to offer both there and on the international stage," said former defender McAuley, who was an international team-mate of Davis from more than a decade.

"You saw at the weekend when Celtic pressed him and he couldn't get in the game, they near enough man marked him because he makes them tick and he knits all the play together.

"The record is absolutely incredible, I think he will do it, the humble guy that he is, he'll share it with everyone."

'Brunt's future will be determined by desire to keep playing'

McAuley, who won 80 international caps before retiring in 2019, was also asked about long-time international team-mate Chris Brunt, who left Bristol City after suffering a significant calf injury.

Brunt, who called time on his international career in 2018, is now 36 and faces the prospect of finding a new club should he wish to continue his career.

"It's a big decision, I believe it needs surgery," said McAuley.

"He's got the mental strength to come back from it having gone through the knee injury and everything he went through at that stage.

"The injury and the comeback wouldn't be a problem, it's can he find a desire within himself?

"Can he find something that's going to excite him enough to give him the challenge to go and do it because in a way, to me, your desire to do it goes before your legs maybe go.

"He needs to find something that gives him that buzz to get out on that training pitch every day. If the enjoyment goes there's no point pushing on."

Listen again to Monday's Sportsound Extra Time

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport