Steven Davis: Northern Ireland captain to 'sit back and reflect' after World Cup campaign

Ian Baraclough is the fourth Northern Ireland manager Davis has played for
Ian Baraclough is the fourth Northern Ireland manager Davis has played for

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has said he will reflect on how he is feeling physically at the end of this current World Cup qualifying campaign.

The side play their final two Group C qualifiers at home to Lithuania on Friday and Italy on Monday.

There has been speculation that Davis, 36, may retire from international football after the double-header.

"At the end of every campaign you sit back, reflect and see how you feel physically and how you see things progressing," he said when asked if he would be considering when to finish playing for his country.

"That will be the same situation this time, I will just reflect on things and we will go from there."

A talismanic figure for Northern Ireland, Davis holds the British record for the most international caps, having played 130 times for his country.

Steven Davis
The Northern Ireland squad trained in Belfast on Tuesday before the Lithuania match

The Rangers midfielder would be 40 when the 2024 Euro finals are played and, with Northern Ireland's qualification hopes for next year's World Cup gone, questions have inevitably turned to his international future.

Asked if he thought playing European champions Italy at Windsor Park would be a fitting finale to his international career, Davis said he is not focusing on that this week.

"I am not thinking about that at this moment in time, I am just here this week to do as well as I can and try and get two good results," he said.

"The Italy game is a great one for us to look forward to, to finish off the campaign and test ourselves against them - that is all my focus is on at this moment In time.

"We want to finish the campaign strongly. We know our chances of qualification have gone but we want to keep building something, keep progressing and hopefully that shows in the performances."

Manager Ian Baraclough has brought a number of young players into the squad in recent months, with Nottingham Forest forward Dale Taylor, 17, getting his first call-up for the games against Lithuania and Italy.

Davis has welcomed the impact the youngsters can have on the squad.

"When young players come into the squad you want them to show, whether that is in training or in games, exactly what they did to get here," he added.

"You want to encourage them to show their qualities. If I can give them a little words of wisdom along the way and guide them then I'm happy to do that."

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