Belfast Telegraph

It's 'crucial' for Northern Ireland to keep Michael O'Neill, says captain Steven Davis

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis reckons it is 'crucial' that Northern Ireland hold on to manager Michael O'Neill.

Reports have surfaced that the Scottish FA have made an official approach to speak to the sought-after boss, with English Championship side Sunderland also expected to weigh in.

But Davis and O'Neill, as Northern Ireland captain and manager since 2012, have formed a close and special bond.

The Cullybackey lad has heard the rumours about O'Neill leaving for a new challenge now that the World Cup campaign is over but Davis, who believes this is not the start of a downward slide for Northern Ireland, says O'Neill staying is vital to the men in green's continued progression.

"It is crucial that we keep Michael," states Davis. "It is only natural that other parties are going to be interested in him but from a selfish point of view, we want to keep him.

"I can speak for every single player and say it would be great if he can stay but obviously him and a few players have decisions to make and over time they will assess their futures.

"Obviously emotions are still so high and strong but it is important we keep as many of the group together as possible because it is a great team to be apart of."

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