STEVEN DAVIS: Northern Ireland captain highlights ‘result with the performance’

Steven Davis full of smiles after kicking off the scoring against Israel.

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis set aside club frustration to lead his country to friendly success over Israel.

Goals from Davis, Stuart Dallas and debut boy Gavin Whyte sealed the win for Michael O’Neill’s side.

Former Crusaders winger Whyte - who moved to Oxford during the summer - scored with his first touch in international football after one minute and 46 seconds of being on the pitch.

But it was Davis - who is getting very little game time with his club side Southampton at the minute - who was once again the main man for the men in green and white.

The Saints man not only scored a goal, he set the pace and pattern of the home side’s play and didn’t give the ball away during the 90 minutes.

And Davis was pleased that O’Neill’s side had got back to winning ways.

“It was another really positive performance and the thing tonight was to get the result with the performance,” he said.

“We also wanted to get back to winning ways as soon as possible so it was a pleasing night.”

And Davis says it was great to score against Israel and get his 11th goal for Northern Ireland.

“It was great to score at Windsor and it is something we had worked on in training.

“So it was nice to see it going in.

“We know how important set plays can be and they have been very important for us over the last few years.

“It was really nice to see another one pay off for us.

“And it something we had spoken about after the weekend, there are times we have to be more clinical and tonight we got the ball into good areas at times and we should have had a couple more tonight with the chances we created.

But overall a really pleasing night and loads of positives to take out of the game.”

And Davis says the win will boost the squad before they go into the back-to-back games in the UEFA Nations League against Austria and Bosnia in October - plus that the young players who have come into the squad have helped greatly.

“We want to make this as difficult a place to come to as we can,” he said. “We are getting that over the last few years.

“We are evolving as a team and the lads that have been brought in have made an impact and there is really good competition for places.

“It is frustrating for the lads who can’t get the game time when they are away but they have all applied themselves very well.

“I am just delighted with the way the squad is moving forward and you are always asked questions when you lose players like Chris Brunt.

“But Jamal Lewis has come in and done really well.

“He has looked really assured in that position in the last three games.

“It is good to get a win under our belts before the games in October.

“We can now look forward to them after a couple of positive performances.”

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