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Monday 5 December 2016

Steven Davis proud to join list of successful Northern Ireland captains

Published 10/10/2015 | 22:36

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis is due to join an exclusive club in France next summer
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis is due to join an exclusive club in France next summer

Northern Ireland's Euro hero Steven Davis is brimming with pride at following in the footsteps of his country's most celebrated captains.

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Danny Blanchflower led Northern Ireland to the 1958 World Cup, Martin O'Neill did the same in 1982 and Sammy McIlroy was the last skipper to experience such an honour at the '86 tournament in Mexico.

But that exclusive club of three will finally become a quartet next summer, when Southampton midfielder Davis leads the Green and White Army in their first-ever European Championship in France.

He played a starring role in making that happen, scoring twice in Thursday's decisive 3-1 win over Greece, and the realisation leaves the 30-year-old wide-eyed.

"Whenever you mention yourself in the same breath as the ex-captains it is unbelievable," he said.

"It is hard for me to sum that feeling up because it gives me so much pride.

"Obviously Thursday night was a very proud moment for me as well. I was delighted for all my family and all the boys, Michael O'Neill and everyone, including the fans.

"It has been difficult at times playing for Northern Ireland and trying to get consistency and results.

"You have to dig deep sometimes but qualifying makes it all worthwhile. Now we can look forward to France which is an amazing feeling."

Davis and his team-mates have been inundated with messages of thanks from grateful fans - online and in person.

More than 2,000 travelling supporters have made the trip to Finland for the final Group F qualifier and the squad have been lauded as heroes.

"It's been an incredible response from everybody. Everyone's phones have been going mad, people getting in contact to wish them all the best and say congratulations," said Davis.

"Michael and the lads have been inundated with messages of support from people. With social media now it's hard not to see it.

"It's been great to reflect in the last 24 hours on what we've achieved. It's an incredible couple of days and the lads fully deserve to get the plaudits they have.

"There's going to be another big following out here and the fans are looking forward to it. Everyone is in good spirits and rightly so."

Press Association

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