Northern Ireland’s legendary captain Steven Davis has revealed he will consider his international future after the 2022 Nations League campaign ended in disappointment.
he midfielder received a rapturous reception from the Green and White Army following the 3-1 defeat to Greece in Athens, with over 1000 away supporters in the Georgios Kamaras stadium singing his name as he left the pitch having made his 140th appearance for his country.
Davis cleverly created Shayne Lavery’s first half equaliser for the visitors, but after the break a rare mistake from him led to Kosovo re-taking the lead.
The Rangers hero told the Belfast Telegraph he would not make any “knee-jerk decisions’ about his international career but pointed out that he needed to feel he was still contributing to the Northern Ireland down the line.
“I think it is important to reflect and not make knee jerk decisions,” said Davis.
“When that day does come it will be very emotional for me, to be honest. Everyone knows how much it means to me playing for Northern Ireland. I think I need to really feel I can still contribute as much as I want to and that has to be shared amongst everybody.”
On a touching moment after the final whistle when the supporters belted out his song, Davis commented: “It was a really nice moment for me coming off the back of a defeat. They have travelled in large numbers again and supported us.
“They were singing my song before the game and after the game. I have had a fantastic relationship with the fans and I am very appreciative of the support they have given me since the day I made my debut and that has never changed regardless of results.
“That’s why it is so special because you feel you are representing your people as well. I think they feel I have given 100 per cent every time I have put on the jersey and that is something I have tried to do.”
There were calls from some fans for manager Ian Baraclough after the loss in Athens which left the team in third place in their Nations League group with just five points from 18.
Asked about the manager’s position, Davis said: “We are all in it together. It has been a really frustrating time. The responsibility lies with us more than the manager but we obviously know how football is perceived when results are frustrating. It is a shared frustration within the dressing room.
“We felt optimistic coming into this campaign coming up against the teams we have and we don’t feel we have done enough. There is plenty of frustration there (amongst the fans), but for 90 minutes in the game and even after the game when the players went over to them they were clapping and showing their support again.
“We have said it too many times in this campaign, we are frustrated. Obviously coming off the high of the Kosovo game (which Northern Ireland won 2-1 on Saturday) we wanted to come out here and get a positive result, but unfortunately we gave ourselves too much to do with the two goals we conceded in the second half.
“In the first half I thought we were well within our shape and frustrated them at times with some good combinations. In the second half we didn’t really get going and the pressure told in the end. There were a couple of mistakes thrown in there as well and that has happened too often in this campaign.
“In terms of the first half, we reacted well to conceding first, and I’ve made a mistake for their second goal and we got punished for it, and we struggled to get up the pitch and play in the style that we did in the first half.
“The game opens up when you are chasing it and that is something we can certainly improve on. When we are in our shape we look like a decent team but when the game opens up a little bit we need to be better when we press the ball.”