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Warren Feeney backs ‘exceptional’ Steven Davis to ‘just keep going and going’

Rangers v Royal Antwerp – UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

“Cool-as-ice” Rangers midfielder Steven Davis can carry on playing at the top level because of his exemplary commitment, according to former Northern Ireland team-mate Warren Feeney.

The 36-year-old has enjoyed a memorable season, taking his cap haul to a Northern Ireland record of 124 and winning the Scottish Premiership title.

The UEFA Cup finalist is targeting further glory with Rangers hosting Slavia Prague in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday after a 1-1 draw in the Czech capital.

And he looks set to eclipse Peter Shilton’s UK record of 125 caps later this month.

Davis is out of contract at the end of the season but Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has expressed hope he will sign on again after tipping him as a player-of-the-year contender.

“Steven Davis is just a machine,” said Feeney, who is manager of Bulgarian second-tier leaders Pirin Blagoevgrad. “It seems as if he has been around for 100 years but he has shown his class.

“He has been instrumental in Rangers winning the league and, with Steven Gerrard being a midfielder as well, it just shows the confidence he has got in what Steven Davis is all about.

“He just keeps going, nothing fazes him. He just keeps going and going with the level of performance, which is exceptional to play at that level and international.

“It’s just his composure, he settles things down and keeps things simple. Nothing fazes him and he’s a great person off the pitch. With his wife Tracey, they are a really down-to-earth family.

“I don’t see why he can’t keep going. He has proved he is cool as ice and he looks after himself. And I don’t think there’s one person who has met him who would say anything different. He is just a very humble boy.”

Davis is often name-checked by younger Rangers players as setting an example of the gym and training-ground work needed to excel.

And with 47 appearances for club and country this season, his regime is still standing the former Aston Villa, Southampton and Fulham player in good stead.

“He sets the standard,” said former Dundee United forward Feeney, who won 46 caps for Northern Ireland. “Steven is from the older generation where you had to work, where nowadays sometimes these kids are handed things too soon.

“Years ago, if some of the stories came out now you could make a fortune with the history of what went on with these coaches and the first-team pros, but that’s what made us what we were.

“It shows that he is in the gym. You look at (Cristiano) Ronaldo as well, first in the gym and last to leave, but I think you have to.

“It’s not just like some of these kids nowadays, get in your Mercedes at 12 o’clock and drive home. If you want to be the best, you have to stay the best.”