Date: 9th October 2015 at 5:25pm
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Northern Ireland qualified for their first ever European Championship, and first major tournament since 1986, with a 3-1 win over Greece on Thursday night.

Leading the team was Southampton midfielder Steven Davis, who enjoyed a memorable week after scoring in his club side’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, before netting twice in the Euro 2016 qualifier against the Greeks.

We decided to take a closer look at the 30-year-old…

Where did he start his career?

Davis came through the youth system at Aston Villa, and made his debut for the Premier League side in a match against Norwich in September 2004.

The midfielder went from strength to strength after making his bow, continuing to impress in the middle of the park, winning the Fans’, Players’ and Young Player of the Year awards in the 2005-06 season.

8th October 2015 - European Championship Qualifying (Group F) - Northern Ireland v Greece - Steven Davis of Northern Ireland - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

What happened next?

In the summer of 2007, the Northern Irishman moved to Fulham to link up with his former national team manager, Lawrie Sanchez. His spell at Craven Cottage lasted just one season though, before he made a dream move to Rangers.

Davis enjoyed lots of success north of the border, including three consecutive titles and reaching the 2008 UEFA Cup final.

So why did he return to the Premier League?

With all of Rangers’ well-documented financial troubles, the Ballymena-born player rescinded his contract and became a free agent, before completing a move to newly-promoted Southampton. He got his Saints career off to a fine start with a goal at Manchester City on the opening day of the 2012-13 campaign.

Davis has gone on to become a mainstay in the side under all three managers he has had at St Mary’s in that time, making more than 125 appearances in all competitions to date.

12th September 2015 - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - Steven Davis of Southampton - Photo: Paul Roberts / Offside.

And how has he fared internationally?

Davis made his full debut for Northern Ireland back in 2005, and made the assist for David Healy in his nation’s famous 1-0 win over England in 2006.

He netted his first goal against Wales, and was also part of the team that famously beat Spain 3-2 at Windsor Park in 2006.

How much of a surprise is their qualification?

Quite a big one. Northern Ireland were beaten 3-2 by Luxembourg during the last qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, and haven’t reached a major tournament since 1986, so to reach Euro 2016 with a game to spare this time around is a massive achievement.

 
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