Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Rangers

Steven Davis set to complete January Rangers return as Southampton boss plans clear-out

 

Steven Davis
Steven Davis
Ralph Hasenhuttl

By Graham Luney

Steven Davis looks certain to rejoin Rangers next month after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Southampton.

The Northern Ireland captain is poised for an emotional return to Ibrox after a frustrating end to his time with the Saints.

Rangers are hungry to net the Cullybackey man and the 33-year-old will relish the opportunity to shine again in the Scottish Premiership for a Gers team managed by one of his football heroes, Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.

New Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is keen to revive the Premier League side's fortunes and he will allow Davis, who is in the final year of his contract, to leave in January.

Rangers need a player in midfield who can provide a real creative spark and Davis, who has won 107 Northern Ireland caps, fits the bill.

Davis has made 219 appearances for the Saints but has been starved of first-team action this season and a move back to Rangers will see him link up with international comrades Kyle Lafferty and Gareth McAuley.

The former Aston Villa and Fulham ace, who won three league titles, three League Cups and two Scottish Cups during his first spell with the Gers, said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my whole time at the club. It's turned out to be a really good relationship and I feel like I've improved as a player.

"I've learned a lot in general about myself. From the very first day that I came here, you see the level of professionalism and the level of desire to try and improve the club. It hasn't worked out the way we would have liked in the last couple of years, but we have had some really good times."

The Gers could only draw 1-1 with Dundee on Sunday, despite the fact that Gerrard’s side faced 10 men for 70 minutes of the game.

Although a deal is expected to go through, Davis is remaining focused on his duties at St Mary’s.

Davis said: “I haven’t genuinely given it much thought.

“It’s probably the first time I have come into the last year of my contract, but my focus is just getting us out of this situation as quickly as possible.

“Having been here so long and feeling that responsibility, I want to see the club doing well.”

Stuart Armstrong was signed by the Saints in the summer with the view of being Davis’ long-term replacement as an attacking midfielder.

Hasenhuttl saw Davis in action when he was in the stands at Wembley for the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year deal earlier that day.

But the Northern Ireland captain was then left out of Hasenhuttl’s first matchday squad for the trip to Cardiff last Saturday.

The new Saints chief is already planning a huge January clear-out in the hope of leading his side out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.

He said: “I think the squad is very big, so we have a lot of positions where we have too many players and maybe one or the other is leaving us and we can bring in something new.

“I have spoken with the chairman about that and they will do everything to help my wishes.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph