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Steven Davis shouldn’t retire as he still has so much to offer Northern Ireland, maintains Steve Lomas

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Steven Davis won his 132nd Northern Ireland cap against Italy

Steven Davis won his 132nd Northern Ireland cap against Italy

William Cherry/Presseye

Steve Lomas wants Steven Davis to carry on playing for Northern Ireland

Steve Lomas wants Steven Davis to carry on playing for Northern Ireland

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Steven Davis won his 132nd Northern Ireland cap against Italy

Former Northern Ireland skipper Steve Lomas says he doesn’t believe the time is right for Steven Davis to bring the curtain down on his extraordinary international career.

The Cullybackey man’s future is uncertain at club and international level as he assesses options with his family.

There has been speculation that the scoreless draw with Italy last November could have been Davis’ 132nd and final cap for his country.

The experienced midfielder, who turned 37 on January 1, said he wasn’t ready to make any big calls after Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign ended.

But there was emption in his voice as he spoke and some supporters believe the Rangers ace will step off the international stage and allow emerging talent to show what they can do.

The former Aston Villa, Fulham and Southampton man is out of contract in the summer and it’s unclear whether new Gers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst will look to keep the most-capped male British footballer in history around a little longer. 

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough says he doesn’t want people trying to retire his trusted lieutenants Davis and Jonny Evans (34), who has suffered injury setbacks, but he knows both players can’t play on forever.

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There’s two friendly matches at the end of March against Luxembourg and Hungary before the Nations League returns with four games in 11 days in June.

Former Manchester City and West Ham ace Lomas, who made 45 international appearances, says he believes Davis has more to offer for Northern Ireland.

“I hope Steven doesn’t hang the boots up,” said the former St Johnstone and Millwall manager.

“His performances for Rangers suggest he has a lot more to offer.

“In England he might struggle with the sheer amount of games but Rangers tend to dominate the ball and it’s a good place for Steven to continue playing.

“There’s no reason why he can’t continue for the next campaign and I hope that he gets a new deal.

“We’d love him to stay on as a player but he could be a mentor too.

“He has a lot more to offer either as a player or in a different role.”

Davis commented after the Italy game: “Whenever that day comes it is never going to be easy to accept, whether it is my choice or not.

“I have had some of my most memorable moments in a Northern Ireland shirt. It is always an honour to pull it on.

“I honestly don’t know what the future holds. I think the next European campaign is going to be so important for us, and I need to take into consideration giving young players a chance to come in and show what they can do as well.

“I genuinely haven’t made any decisions. It will be a very difficult one, but it was important to focus on these two games and get this campaign out of the way and then take a step back and have those conversations with my family and work out the best way forward.”

Meanwhile, Wolves defender Jack Scott has moved on loan to St Patrick’s Athletic after extending his contract at Molineux until the summer of 2023.

The 19-year-old right wing-back, who has won 10 caps at Under-21 level for Northern Ireland, joins last season’s FAI Cup winners for the duration of the 2022 campaign.


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