Steven Davis: ‘Euro memories can inspire us’

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis says the memories from EURO 2016 can help inspire the squad for this current qualifying campaign.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 5:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 5:51 pm
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis pictured during an open training session,  ahead of Northern Irelands UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying matches against Estonia and Belarus at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis pictured during an open training session, ahead of Northern Irelands UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying matches against Estonia and Belarus at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

They kick off their 2020 qualifiers with a home double header against Estonia on Thursday night before taking on Belarus three days later.

Davis says the experience in France three years ago was one of his ‘best experiences in life’. And he hopes this current squad can echo those achievements this time around.

“If you speak to any of us, it’s one of our best experiences in life, not just in football,” said the skipper.

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“We know the difficulties we have in this group but we’ve got to break it down, take these games first and see where we are.

“If you can get off to a good start, the confidence and belief really grows. That’s what we’re aiming for this week.”

Boss Michael O’Neill is also hoping to use past memories to inspire his squad.

Back-to-back defeats at the hands of Estonia back in 2011 put paid to Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for EURO 2012.

“I watched the games last night on Youtube actually,” said O’Neill. “That was a disappointment but one thing we have become a lot better at is, in the past, games against pots five and six were difficult for us but we improved dramatically and took 12 points in the last campaign and I think 10 before that.

“It’s good we have players who were involved in those games. It’s good that you’ve had those experiences because you don’t want them to happen again.

“That doesn’t mean this won’t be a difficult game. This won’t be straight forward.”