Belfast Telegraph

Steve Davis became Northern Ireland's youngest ever captain against Uruguay last night PRESSEYE

Steve's proudest moment

Youngster Davis relishes captain's role

Youngster Davis relishes captain's role

BY PAUL FERGUSON

IN NEW YORK



HE was the proudest young man in the magnificent Giants Stadium.

Steve Davis insisted today it was his biggest honour of his career to captain his country for the first time last night.

Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez informed the Aston Villa midfield star on the eve of the match against Uruguay he was going to skipper the side.

Davis was totally shocked and was even more surprised when told he is now the youngest ever Northern Ireland captain at 21 years and five months.

It took a cracking 35 yard strike from Fabian Estoyanoff to seal a 1-0 victory for Uruguay, stopping Northern Ireland earning a deserved draw.

To a man, Northern Ireland, with five players making their debut, were fantastic against a team ranked 60 odd places above them in the FIFA listings and they were led wonderfully well by Davis.

The midfielder said: "It was an absolute honour to lead out my country at the Giants Stadium.

"I was totally shocked when Lawrie told me but of course delighted.

"I wasn't expecting it at all and it really was a lovely surprise.

"My folks back in Cullybackey will be as proud as I am.

"It's been a good day for me and I think we can take a number of positives from the performance.

"Personally I thought I had a stinker however Sammy Clingan alongside me played very well.

"Every player played their part in a good Northern Ireland performance. It's just disappointing we weren't able to get a draw.

"But what can you say about their goal? It was some strike. He hit it like a rocket into the back of the net giving Michael (Ingham) no chance."

Sanchez admitted after the match he felt Davis, despite being only 21 years of age, fully deserved to be handed the captain's armband.

"I could have easily have chosen one of the three senior players to captain the side," said Sanchez.

"I know Stephen Craigan, Colin Murdock and James Quinn would have done an excellent job and I told all three that.

"But we've brought a young squad over and I thought it was appropriate Steve was given the captaincy.

"He leads by example on the pitch anyway so not to change a thing. Steve has had a lot of highlights during his short career and this is yet another one."

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