Steven Davis: Injured 140-times capped midfielder deserves to play for NI again - O'Neill

NI captain Steven Davis and manager Michael O'Neill
Steven Davis has been NI captain during both of manager Michael O'Neill's spells in charge

Euro 2024 qualifiers: Finland v Northern Ireland

Venue: Olympic Stadium, Helsinki Date: Friday, 17 November Kick-off: 17:00 GMT

Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Ulster; live text and report on BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC One NI

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says record 140-times capped midfielder Steven Davis deserves at least one final outing for his country.

The Rangers midfielder has been sidelined by a knee injury for almost a year and his playing future remains uncertain as he continues his rehab.

The 38-year-old recently had a spell as Rangers interim manager before the appointment of Philippe Clement.

"It's nice to go out with something to remember," said NI boss O'Neill.

"Certainly Steven Davis deserves that. Any player who has gone over 100 caps deserves that opportunity to be on the pitch for whatever, if it is one last night whatever it may be.

"Hopefully Steven can get himself to a point where he has the opportunity to do that.

"It would be really sad if such a great career has ended with an injury that happened on the training ground. I know he is very focused to make sure that is not the case."

O'Neill indicated at the announcement of his squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Finland and home to Denmark that Davis might join up with the squad in Belfast before Monday's encounter with the Danes at Windsor Park.

His long-time captain has missed the entire European Championships qualifying campaign.

"I speak to Steven every couple of weeks. It has been very regular through the time of his injury," explained O'Neill.

"I knew obviously when he had setbacks with his knee and how he felt about that and how his family situation has changed where he was when he had the injury so there are a lot of moving parts in the situation for Steven which I don't think it has made making decisions very easy for him.

"The last time we spoke was before I named the squad and he seemed focused on trying to get his knee in the best shape he could possibly get it in and then he will have a decision to make in terms of what his playing options are.

"I just hope that some of these lads who have been great players and had really good international careers [get to finish them on a high].

"Kyle [Lafferty] was in the hotel on Wednesday night. He's had a knee operation and is in a brace and it was quite sad to see him there on crutches because you want your international career to end with some sort of high."