Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland keeper McGovern's performance one of best I've seen: Steven Davis

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis hailed the brilliance of goalkeeper Michael McGovern after his stunning display in last night's 1-0 defeat to Germany in the Parc des Princes.

Like the rest of his team-mates, Davis applauded the Fermanagh man when he entered the dressing room post match, stating that it was one of the finest performances he has seen in his 11 years as an international.

McGovern's heroics against the World Champions kept the score down and helped keep Northern Ireland in the tournament.

"Michael's performance was definitely one of the best I've seen," said the Southampton midfielder.

"We knew it was likely that they were going to get opportunities but he just seemed to be there every time.

"We had the belief that if they did get through he was going to save it.

"Hopefully he gets the recognition that he deserves because he's worked ever so hard, had to bide his time as well to get a chance. He's reaping the rewards for how he has applied himself.

"We knew Michael was going to need a good game and he surpassed that. He really was outstanding, like he has been in all of our group games."

McGovern is set to leave Scottish Premiership outfit Hamilton after the tournament - he is out of contract with the Accies next week - and Davis says that he will have no problem finding a new club after his efforts against the Germans.

"Michael is a very level-headed guy… I don't want to disrespect the club he's at, but he definitely should be playing at a higher level," said Davis.

"Anybody watching that couldn't help but be impressed by his performance. He was brilliant."

On the game itself which was dominated by the World Champions, 31-year-old Davis admitted it was a tough shift against high class opponents. "We knew we were coming up against a world class side and they showed that out there - their movement, the way they moved the ball, and they obviously created a number of opportunities," stated the skipper.

"We kept fighting to the end - although we didn't pick anything up, it was the best possible result for us because it didn't impact too much on our goal difference."

He added: "On the back of the Ukraine game we knew the match versus Germany was going to be about our spirit, trying to keep going, trying to close the ball down. We kept doing that.

"Our fans again were unbelievable. They kept singing for 90-plus minutes.

"Maybe they don't always have a lot to sing about in terms of possession of the ball or chances that we create, but they kept us going out there. They have been a credit to the tournament, they've been outstanding.

"They don't want to go home and neither do we. Our ambition has always been to reach the last 16. As far as our performances go, the way we have played, we can't have any regrets now. We have given this tournament our all and it is huge to get through to the next round."

Belfast Telegraph