IAN BARACLOUGH has dismissed speculation that captain Steven Davis is ready to call time on his Northern Ireland career.

The Rangers midfielder was set to equal the British caps record held by Peter Shilton on Wednesday night but missed out on his 125th appearance for his country after withdrawing from the squad for personal reasons.

The 1-1 draw with Romania at Windsor Park brought an end to a disappointing international break for Northern Ireland after they were denied a place at the European Championships following a play-off final defeat to Slovakia.

All focus is now fixed on the road to Qatar 2020 as Baraclough looks to lead his side to the World Cup in two years' time.

And the former Motherwell boss is confident Davis will still have a significant part to play for his country as the 35-year-old prepares to return to domestic action with Rangers this term.

Baraclough said: “The lads showed character in abundance in the Austria game and the senior lads are at the front, driving it on.

“I don't see anything that tells me that Steven Davis is not ready to play anymore. Steven took a call and had to go home. So for personal reasons he pulled out of the squad.

“All the conversations I've had with everyone in the group have been positive. We spoke after the Slovakia game about resetting our sights and drawing a line under the Euros, it's gone and we can't do anything about that.

“This time next year we could be celebrating being in a World Cup. For the next year the lads are fully refocused, there's a hunger and desire.

“They have been in two play-offs for major competitions and we fell at the final hurdle but there is still a hunger among all the lads.”