Peter Shilton congratulates Steven Davis with NI captain on verge of equalling his British international caps record

Steven Davis
Davis led Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals in France

Peter Shilton has urged Steven Davis to reach the World Cup finals ahead of the Northern Ireland captain equalling his British international caps record.

Davis, 35, will match the ex-England goalkeeper's record when he makes his 125th NI appearance in Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Italy.

Shilton played his final international match at the 1990 World Cup and he would like Davis to do the same.

"I'd like to congratulate Steven very much," Shilton told BBC Sport NI.

"For a midfielder in particular to be able to break my record would be a great achievement. I think to get over 100 caps for an outfield player is some achievement and to gain more than that is a testament to his fitness and attitude towards wanting to play.

"You can get to a point in football where you think 'I have just about had enough now' but he obviously has that determination to keep going.

"The great Pat Jennings, who I know very well, got 119 caps for NI. He was just a fantastic person and I'm sure Steven will feel very honoured to equal the record and then beat it.

"I'm sure he could go on and win many more and hopefully he could finish it off by playing in a World Cup finals. I did that at Italia 90 and called it a day after that, though still played for Derby for about 18 months afterwards in the old First Division.

Peter Shilton
Shilton reached the World Cup semi-finals with England in 1990

"I think it would be great if he could get there but even so, well done on a brilliant achievement."

Davis made his senior international debut against Canada in February 2005 and broke Jennings' Northern Ireland caps record in October's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He has recently helped Rangers win the Scottish Premiership title, and Shilton was full of praise for the former Aston Villa and Southampton midfielder's attitude.

"You need ability to start with, you can't do it without ability," he said when asked what a player needs to enjoy such longevity on the international stage.

"Hard work and determination, the love of the game and wanting to play and compete - that was the only thing I ever wanted to do from a very early age and I managed to achieve my dreams in football.

"You need all of those things put together, as well as a bit of luck with injuries. Outfield players in particular can pick up injuries that could put you out of action for a long time."

Shilton, who played in three World Cups for England across a 20-year international career, also added that he is pleased his record is being equalled by someone who is a regular starter rather than someone who comes on late in games.

"There was a point where players were coming on for five minutes or two or three minutes at the end and getting a cap.

"I was thinking maybe it is not quite right to get a cap for that, and it was getting a little bit annoying at times, but if people play more or less most of the game then I am the first to congratulate them."

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