Even despite his down time with Southampton, Steven Davis never lost his place for his country. Whether Michael O’Neill deployed him in his older AM, generalised CM or newer DM position, Steven Davis never stopped delivering for his country on the 107 times he turned out for it despite being on the fringes of Southampton.
And as he showed up for that 107th cap last night, it was arguably in some of the form of his life. Davis’ new position at Ibrox, as a deep-lying playmaker, has been an utter revelation – dictating the game’s flow, tempo and direction, and spraying intelligent passes far and wide.
All that’s done is enhanced his already excellent reputation further and evolved his play for his country – Steven Davis isn’t as physically quick as he used to be, but his mind hasn’t slowed, and now he’s pulling strings deeper for club and country.
And my word, Michael O’Neill and Northern Ireland are certainly benefitting from his new-found lease of life as defined by Steven Gerrard.
Sure, the first half last night was a bit slow, and Davis (not to mention his two NI colleagues in the middle of the park) struggled a little to get into the match, but the second half was a different story and the visitors dominated before taking complete control and winning out. Davis’ Rangers’ team mate Jordan Jones had a big hand in the winner, but Davis’ settling influence can’t be discounted either.
Isn’t it also wonderful to be discussing again Rangers’ increasing number of international players who are more than doing themselves justice and their club proud in that arena?
He’s 34, and Rangers are most likely Steven Davis’ last club – his market value is irrelevant and it’s evident he’s not one suitors will be looking to sign – so we’re happy instead to enjoy the twilight of Davis’ career as he becomes an increasingly integral part of Rangers’ blooming midfield.
If he isn’t already.