French fancy: Who will Michael O’Neill take to Euro 2016?

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis and Slovenia's Bojan Jokic
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis and Slovenia's Bojan Jokic

Steven Davis admits Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill will have some tough decisions to make before naming his final squad for the Euros.

O’Neill has to whittle his panel down to just 23 names ahead of this summer’s showpiece in France, with an announcement expected after the friendly against Belarus in Belfast on May 27.

And while the bulk of the manager’s squad appears straightforward, the past two friendlies against Wales and Slovenia have given O’Neill a potential headache after Conor Washington and fellow newcomer Michael Smith both impressed.

“The last two games will have given Michael (O’Neill) plenty of food for thought,” skipper Davis said.

“It is good for the manager, to have these decisions to make. I am just glad it is Michael who has to make those decisions and not me. It will be tough finalising the squad for France.”

Davis hailed the home debut of QPR striker Washington, whose goal sealed a 1-0 win over Slovenia on Monday night, extending Northern Ireland’s unbeaten record to 10 games – a new record.

“I am delighted for him. Sometimes it can be tough playing up front, and he made the goal all on his own,” Davis added.

“He showed what he is all about, and he has certainly given the manager something to think about ahead of the Euros.

“I think Conor adapted himself well over the two games and his goal on Monday capped things off nicely for him. Scoring on your home debut is fantastic and hopefully there will be plenty more goals to come from Conor.

“Michael Smith can also take a lot of positives from his debut. All the young lads have really benefited from these two games and it will stand them in good stead for the future.”