Mauricio Pochettino says Steven Davis was his Andreas Iniesta or Xavi at Southampton as the midfielder prepares to become Northern Ireland’s most capped player.
On Thursday night in Sarajevo, captain Patt Jennings will surpass the record of making his 120th appearance in the Euro play-offs against Bosnia and Herzegovina – which his contemporaries insist he deserves.
Next landmark, Sky Sports News Jennings, Pochettino, Steven Gerrard and Virgil Van Dijk have spoken to their former managers, teammates, family and friends to report their feelings towards the 35-year-old.
And what they describe is a professional, excellent player and a really good person …
Pet Jennings: “I spoke to him when he equaled the record. I’m going back to him to say I did well to beat my record. He’s a great young player for excellent Ireland and Northern Ireland for nd. He deserves this. Reaching the number caps is about being lucky and consistent. I was lucky with the injuries and so is Steven. I wish him and the team all the best. “
Mauricio Pochettino: “I compare his talent with Zvi and the football people [Andreas] Iniesta. You put him on the same level as this type of player because of his ability to play football, be a playmaker, read the game, his ability to run. I think compare Christian Eriksson with this type of player too, he makes your team better.
“I remember how people loved the ‘suit’. We were doing pre-season in Catalonia, we were doing different things with a coach in the room in the afternoon. He needed to go to the toilet.
“The moment he got back we were all very serious, then all the players and staff started running towards him and started celebrating. It was an incredible experience because it shows how much the players love him.
“I think how polite he is. In a professional you can appreciate him the most. He is a simple person, a family person, a good friend and we are very proud and fortunate to have spent time with him. He’s a big player and a big guy. “
Steven Gerrard: “Special. He’s a student of the game, you can see how he takes information. Managers trust him and he’s born with a special talent. I didn’t have really good memories with him because he always had to play. There was an insect. He was a very decent person who would never go far no matter what the score line was. “
Walter Smith: “It’s a tremendous achievement for any player. For those of us who know Steve, I’ve been lucky enough to work with him, everything has been great about him, I don’t know a single word of criticism about Steve Davis.”
Michael O’Neill: “It was an honor to have you as my captain for eight years. We have some fantastic memories and I’m proud to see you reach this milestone and I know you’ll go ahead and earn more caps.”
“It’s a shining example for any young player. My best recollection of Steven after his goal against Greece is when he pointed to heaven and I know it meant a lot to him.”
Lori Sanchez: “It takes more than a good player to set a record in Northern Ireland for nd, Steven was always present, you didn’t have to worry about him being upgraded. And when he moves on, his level is his baseline. Most people are above the line. They’re the kind of players you build around. “
Nigel Adkins: “Reaching the 120 caps we have is a very talented and talented person, but he put his team and his country first. It’s an extraordinary achievement for Northern Ireland to do that.”
Ronald Komen: “A big, big hug from me because it’s unbelievable to reach that number of games. You’ll reach that number of caps with quality, discipline and being a team player.”
Virgin Van Dijk: “Davo has been exceptional as a pro, but he’s also been a great example to many young players outside of Northern Ireland. I enjoyed playing with him at Southampton and I really enjoyed it. A great person and top player and Clearly deserving. “
Adam Lallana: “What an achievement, your 120th cap for your country is a matter of great pride. Don’t underestimate the sacrifices you have made for your family, even for club football. There aren’t many other internationals who have done so that the top man, a Top player. “
Chris Brunt: “We’re going back a long time and I don’t think the two of us expected anything like this all these years ago. I’m totally buzzing for you and hopefully you can get some results to move forward with the achievement.”
Shane Long: “Congratulations, 120 is an amazing achievement and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come and your feet are still firing.”
Gareth M. A Cowley: “I know the big belly will be absolutely delighted for you too, brilliant that you’ve done it you’ve got plenty in the tank too. But congratulations to you and the family.”
Neil Alexander: “He’s a top man and a very loyal friend. He’s very polite, you’re not that footballer and he doesn’t look amazing! He’s a really nice and down to earth guy. I think he can go ahead and play. Still some For years to come. It takes so much pride and determination to do things right, it’s a wonderful application and a tendency to be the best footballer. “
Family and friends
David (Father): “Hi Steven … It’s been a lot of fun watching you play, and I’m so proud to see your mom (the late Mum Laura) and you perform so well. You’ve maintained the field on which you’ve continued football. Keep your feet on the ground and give you a fair game. “
Go (Daughter, eight): “Hi Dad, we just wanted to say how proud we are of you. We love coming on this wonderful journey with you and we love you so much.”
Chloe (Daughter, 12): “Dad, I love you. You have taught us a lot and I am proud of what you have achieved for me and for you. You are our inspiration.”
Cabbage (Son, two): “Nice daddy. We love you.”
Steven BCom (Belfast Telegraph Reporter): “For me he’s in the top three and I rank him along with George Best and Pat Jennings. He’ll tell you he shouldn’t be anywhere near that company, but believe me he deserves to say the same thing in the same breath.” Greetings. He wrote a column for the Belfast Telegraph during Euro 2016 and without any fuss he told me to please give my fee to Myloma UK which is a cancer charity. “
Rob Segal (20-year-old delegate and friend): “I remember the first time I was told about Steven. My co-worker John Ore fired him. He was probably 16 years old. He said you have to have this baby. Presented for 20 years and is a sign of a man in the game who doesn’t let that happen.
“I want to tell you another thing Steve did. Southampton refused to sign the registration papers for the Southampton move until he had to pay the Rangers for his help. Just go. He could have gotten the money but he got the money. Insisted on going back to the Rangers.
“Steven Davis is the same thing. He enjoyed being an agent.”
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