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‘Peerless’ Northern Ireland skipper Davis retires

Steven Davis MBE

Steven Davis MBE


Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has brought the curtain down on his illustrious playing career.


His club, Rangers, announced his retirement from professional football today, saying that he had been an incredible servant to both his clubs and his country.


The 39-year-old midfielder has decided the time is right to hang up his boots after making 742 appearances and scoring 51 goals for top flight clubs in England and Scotland.



He had been struggling to fully recover from an ACL injury picked up while playing for Rangers in December 2022.


Northern Ireland’s most capped player, with 140 caps under his belt, Davis starred for his country for almost 20 years. He is also the most capped British player in the history of the game – and he captained his country on 82 occasions.


Davis said: “It’s a strange sensation today, but ultimately it has been at the back of my mind given the nature of the injury and my age.


“I did some testing four weeks ago and I realised I was still a little bit away. It feels like the time is right and I’m comfortable with it.”



He also said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and the people of Northern Ireland. Every time I’ve stepped on to the pitch I’ve felt a huge amount of pride.


“There’ll be moments we shared together I’ll never forget and that was epitomised with qualification to Euro 2016 and what followed in France.


“The support and connection I’ve shared with the Green and White Army is something words alone can’t describe and I’ll always be grateful for. Thank you for the incredible support.”


Although he did not play for Northern Ireland during last year’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualification campaign due to injury, he was still considered to be the captain of the squad by Michael O’Neill.



The manager of the Northern Ireland senior men’s team said:


“Whilst the news of Steven’s retirement is a sad day, particularly for football, especially in Northern Ireland, it is also a time for us to recognise an outstanding player who has had an outstanding career.


“I have known and worked with him for many years and he is a model professional and a wonderful person.”



And O’Neill added:


“His leadership qualities both on and off the pitch have always been evident through both the successful times and also the difficult periods.


“His record of 140 caps, 82 as captain, has set the bar high for current and future generations of Northern Ireland players and he is truly one of the greatest we have ever produced.”


Off the pitch, in June 2017, the man originally from Cullybackey in Co Antrim was recognised for his services to football and awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.


Local man Steven Davis MBE with Ald. Stewart McDonald

Local man Steven Davis MBE with Ald. Stewart McDonald


Locally, Deputy Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Bannside Ald. Stewart McDonald commented on retirement of Steven Davis MBE, saying:


“The retirement of Steven Davis MBE from football is a significant event for those of us who have followed his career for years. I personally have many happy memories of the joy he brought to the Green and White Army both in Windsor Park and abroad.



“His immense contribution to the campaign which got us to the Euros in 2016 was a particular highlight. It was a particular delight that a fellow North Antrim man was so pivotal to creating memories which will last a lifetime for all members of the Green and White Army.


“Tens of thousands across Northern Ireland will join me in saying thank you to Steven and in wishing him a long and happy retirement.”

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