Steven Gerrard believes if Steven Davis equals the Northern Ireland caps record it will be testament to the high standards he sets himself every day.
Northern Ireland’s captain, 35, is one short of iconic keeper Pat Jennings’ 119-match record going into Monday’s Nations League game against Norway.
Gerrard, Davis’ club boss at Rangers, was full of praise for the man he signed from Southampton last year.
“I have got nothing but admiration for Steven,” he told Sportsound Extra Time.
“It would be a magnificent achievement for him to equal the record. From someone who knows what you have to sacrifice to get to those sort of numbers, he deserves a lot of credit and all the plaudits that will come his way.
“It just goes to show the standards he sets himself on a daily basis. To still be performing at such a high level at his age, and to still have the hunger and desire to keep breaking these records is incredible.”
‘Fitting’ to reach British record also
Davis once again wore the captain’s armband for Friday night’s Nations League 1-1 draw against Romania in Bucharest – new manager Ian Baraclough’s first match in charge.
If he plays on Monday he could then break the appearance record next month, when Baraclough’s side are away to Bosnia-Herzegovina in a Euro play-off semi-final.
The former Aston Villa and Fulham man is also just seven caps short of the all-time British international appearance record of 125 – held by former England keeper Peter Shilton – and Gerrard has backed him to break that too.
“First and foremost he’s a top human being. He’s a lovely lad who goes about his work in a professional way, so it would be fitting if he goes on and breaks it,” the former Liverpool captain continued.
“From a selfish point of view, every manager gets nervous when their players go off on international duty, but he deserves it because of all the hard work he’s put in.”
Low maintenance Davis ‘manages himself’
Davis is in his second spell at Ibrox, having won three league titles, two Scottish Cups, three League Cups and reached the Uefa Cup final when he first played for the Scottish Premiership outfit.
Gerrard, who signed Davis from the Saints in January 2019, said he knew from his experiences of playing against him in the English Premier League that he would be a good addition.
“He’s been extremely important, both on and off the pitch. He’s so low maintenance, he manages himself, really,” he added.
“He hadn’t played too much before he joined but once he settled in and got himself up to speed, his performances have been top-class. He has been one of my most consistent performers.
“One of the major reasons I wanted to get him in was that I had experienced playing against him first-hand. I had competed against him and got to know how he carries himself in battle. I knew what he was going to bring.
“I had obviously watched him up at Rangers before and knew that he could handle the crowd. There were a lot of advantages of bringing him in – it was a ‘no-brainer’ for me to make it happen as soon as I could.
“With some signings you have to take certain risks, but I knew signing Steven had no risk attached at all. You speak to people around him and they tell you he is still in fantastic shape.”
The full interview with Steven Gerrard can be heard on Radio Ulster’s Sportsound Extra Time on Monday at 18:05 BST.
— to www.bbc.co.uk