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Steven Davis: Rangers extension 'means the world' to Northern Ireland captain

Steven Davis: Northern Ireland captain extends Rangers contract

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis says signing a one-year extension with Rangers “was never going to be a difficult conversation”.

The 37-year-old has made more than 350 Rangers appearances over two spells with the Ibrox club.

Davis helped Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team win the Scottish Cup and reach the Europa League final.

“If Rangers wanted me it was never an option to look anywhere else,” he said.

Out of contract this summer, Davis’ future at Ibrox was questioned towards the end of the season.

  • NI boss Baraclough wants new call-ups to ‘make an impression’

However the midfielder, currently on international duty with his country, said it was important his focus was on the two cup finals as opposed to his future.

Rangers lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final in Seville, but bounced back to defeat Hearts and win the Scottish Cup.

“It was important that we focused on the remaining games of the season, there were important things at stake, so I’m delighted to end with a Scottish Cup win and then it was easy to sort it out,” said Davis as he prepared for Northern Ireland’s Nations League game with Greece.

“It means the world. I’ve obviously spent a large part of my career here and I grew up a Rangers fan.

“To come here the first time was really special, that was a good period for the club in terms of success, and obviously there was the opportunity to come back under Steven Gerrard. So I’m really thankful we have come to this agreement and I look forward to the season ahead.”

Steven Davis and Niall McGinn in Northern Ireland training
Steven Davis is training with Northern Ireland ahead of June’s Nations League matches

Davis found game time in the last campaign limited after “niggly injuries” and a positive Covid-19 test mid-season, and admitted he found his time on the sidelines “frustrating”.

“It just seemed like it was one thing after another for that period and I was really delighted to get my fitness levels up,” he added.

“There’s good quality in the group and a good hunger and desire.

“It would have been very easy after the setback in Seville – it meant a lot to us and took a lot out of us, it was a really emotional week with the funeral of [Rangers kitman] Jimmy Bell – it was really important for us as a group to get our hands on the Scottish Cup.

“That shows the character and desire in the team and we can certainly build on this now.

“I’m looking forward to the season again and hopefully we can make many more memories. It is a special club and hopefully we can go on to have more success.”

Davis wants to replicate famous Greece win

After working up to full fitness with Rangers, Davis is now focused on the Nations League, which will see Northern Ireland play four times in the space of 10 days.

Ian Baraclough’s side have yet to win a Nations League match and are without several influential players.

Greece travel to Windsor Park on Thursday for the first time since 2015 when Davis scored twice as Northern Ireland won 3-1 in Belfast to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals.

He said that victory over Greece was “one of the fondest memories” of his career and has full belief in a youthful squad that will face them again.

Steven Davis scored twice as Northern Ireland beat Greece in 2015 to qualify for Euro 2016
Steven Davis scored twice as Northern Ireland beat Greece in 2015 to qualify for Euro 2016

“To get the goals, to get the win and being in a comfortable position in the game where you can actually take a bit of it in – we all know the experience we had in France after that,” recalled Davis.

“It is a really special memory and it would be nice to replicate that performance and that result.

“If we perform to the levels we are capable of, we can do something special with this group.

“Ultimately we know there could be a play-off place up for grabs so there is that carrot for us.”

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