By James Black

Southampton midfielder Steve Davis has admitted Northern Ireland’s players “really want to keep” manager Michael O’Neill in charge amid reports he could become Rangers’ next manager.

The Telegraph has reported that the Light Blues are keen on the Northern Ireland boss after he led the Green and White Army to last summer’s European Championships in France but fell at the final hurdle in their aim to reach next year’s World Cup.

Premier League midfielder Davis, formerly of Rangers, is O’Neill’s captain for Northern Ireland and revealed the players would “love” for him to stay but realises their success will attract interest.

“I speak for everyone by saying we’d love him to stay and how important he is for us,” Davis said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.

“He has a bit of time and decisions to make.

“Other nations and clubs will probably take an interest in him because of the success we have had, but from a selfish point of view we really want to keep him.”

O’Neill has limited club experience as a manager with only Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers as former club jobs he has held.

Davis recently won his 100th cap for his country and was awarded an MBE for his services to football.

The midfielder spent three-and-a-half years at Ibrox before leaving to join Southampton in controversial circumstances in 2012.

Davis has since gone on to establish himself as one of the most consistent midfielders in the Premier League with the Saints.

Derek McInnes is the bookies favourite to take over at Ibrox following Caixinha’s sacking only seven months into a three-year contract.

In other Rangers team news, Fabio Cardoso has returned to training after suffering a nose injury

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