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Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has left a real mark on the big stage this summer, says Davis

By Steven Beacom

Published 27/06/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland players after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland players after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with his daughters after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Michael McGovern are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Corry Evans is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland'sJosh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas applauds the fans after the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Ben Davies of Wales celebrates his team's win while Northern Ireland players show their dejection after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty throws his boots to the fans after the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Josh Magennis (2nd L) and Northern Ireland players show their dejection after their team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis after Wales' Gareth Bale scores against them during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Gareth Bale (L) and Aaron Ramsey (R) of Wales celebrate their team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates on the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas with Wales' Ashley Williams during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Wales' Gareth Bale (left) celebrates with teammate Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor (right) after seeing his side score their first goal of the game conceded by Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley (not pictured) during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood with Wales' Aaron Ramsey during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' James Chester during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Neil Taylor during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart with Wales' Aaron Hughes during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Neil Taylor during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Wales' Gareth Bale battles for the ball with Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward (left) and Corry Evans (right) during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Joe Giddens/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Wales' Ashley Williams (left) and Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battle for the ball in the air during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes (right) and Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes (right) and Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (left) and Wales' Joe Allen battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Gareth Bale of Wales and Oliver Norwood of Northern Ireland compete for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Stuart Dallas of Northern Ireland reacts after missing a chance during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis (left) and Wales' Aaron Ramsey (centre) battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Sam Vokes (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley (top) and Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Joe Allen (left) and Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris.Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales player hold a group huddle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Wales' Joe Allen jump for the ballduring the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland players warm up before the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. : Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (top centre) warms up before the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill speaks to his players during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Conor Washington lifts Oliver Norwood as Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty watches on during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson and Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley, Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley, Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson and Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Corry Evans chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Josh Magennis chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill speaks to Will Grigg and Kyle Lafferty during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis didn't hesitate. Still feeling emotional after Northern Ireland's exit from Euro 2016, he was asked about the future of manager Michael O'Neill.

Since O'Neill was appointed in December 2011, the boss and star midfielder have forged a close relationship. They admire each other in equal measure. It's a sure thing had the pair of them not been around over the past two years, Northern Ireland would not have been playing in France over the past fortnight.

Realist: Steven Davis knows Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will be in high demand after his exploits at Euro 2016
Realist: Steven Davis knows Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will be in high demand after his exploits at Euro 2016

So, to be quizzed on O'Neill entering the thoughts of club owners and chairmen in England moments after one of the most painful experiences of his footballing life - losing 1-0 to Wales in the last 16 in Paris and being knocked out of the tournament - was testing. Typically, the Southampton star didn't shirk the challenge.

He said: "There are going to be people looking at him, he's done a hell of a job with us. There's been an unbelievable progression in the last couple of years, we were close to getting into the quarter-finals here.

"I'm sure there'll be plenty of suitors thinking he's a possible candidate for a role. We'd like to keep him but I'm sure at some point he'll go on to manage a big club side."

The Northern Ireland skipper's club Southampton are currently on the lookout for a new manager. To land O'Neill they would have to pay the Irish FA £750,000 which is the buy-out clause in his four-year contract.

O'Neill is considered an outsider for that role with ex-Nice, Lyon and Lille manager Claude Puel the favourite ahead of former Ajax boss Frank de Boer to replace Ronald Koeman, who is now in charge of Everton.

"Stranger things have happened," was the reply from Davis when the O'Neill to Southampton suggestion was made.

"As a player or a manager, everyone needs an opportunity. Some of our lads are playing in the lower leagues and they've shown they're capable of playing at this standard. You need a chance and that's the same for managers. It's about somebody having the belief in Michael to give him the opportunity. I'm sure he wouldn't let them down.

"He has proved himself. In this tournament we've played against some world class players in (Robert) Lewandowski and (Gareth) Bale and I think we kept both of them relatively quiet.

Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press

"We set up against a strong German side and of course they were going to get through us. He's managed to find a system that works for us and the players we've got to give us the best opportunity to get results.

"He's been great for us and we'd like to keep him and build on this. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into the World Cup qualifiers. It's going to be a tough group but we need to look forward, we've got to take the positives from this tournament and try to build."

On the defeat to Wales, which was down to an unfortunate Gareth McAuley own goal after Northern Ireland were on top for most of the match, Davis admitted it was extremely hard to accept.

"I don't usually get emotional coming off the pitch but I was close to tears doing a TV interview straight after the game. It shows what it meant to us. Wales knew they were in a game," said the former Rangers star.

"I was devastated, the dressing room was very quiet after the game. Everyone was emotional coming off. I think that's because it's been an unbelievable experience, one we've loved every minute of and one we didn't want to end.

"I think we gave it our all on the day, I think we were unlucky, the ball just didn't seem to drop for us in the right areas and the first goal was always going to be major, I knew it was going to be tight and it proved to be the case.

"We will look back on this tournament with so many fond memories from the scenes with the fans to winning the game against Ukraine.

"I think we can hold our heads high, we're not going to have any regrets."

Davis, who said no blame should be attached to McAuley for the defeat, led his team out to say thank you to the Northern Ireland fans long after the final whistle.

He said: "It was great to see the fans at the end and to show them our respect, there's mutual respect. Obviously we've seen what it's done back home, uniting people. We take a lot of pride in what we've achieved.

"Hopefully with the reaction back home there'll be a generation of kids who want to play for Northern Ireland. Hopefully we'll start bringing through more players, there's great pride in the shirt now.

"Everybody I've been speaking to back home has been saying the whole country's going football crazy. That's fantastic."

Belfast Telegraph

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