RONALD Koeman is looking forward to a reunion with Steven Davis, his former Saints captain, ahead of Holland’s crunch Euro2020 qualifier against Northern Ireland in Rotterdam today.

Davis was a key cog in the Holland manager’s Saints team from 2014-16 and Koeman know he has the potential to be a thorn in his side tonight.

“I think if you are talking about football quality he is the best player Northern Ireland have,” he said of the 34-year-old.

“I have been with Steven at Southampton for a couple of years, then he had more of an attacking role and now he’s more of a defensive midfielder but he has incredible footballing instincts, incredible technique.

“He has aged a little bit but he’s still very important. I would like to shake his hand before the match, and then hopefully again after the match with a smile.”

Koeman has warned his players they must be prepared to face “fighting machines” when they take on Davis & co.

With Holland due in Belfast next month, both teams are viewing the double-header as a head-to-head battle for a ticket to next summer’s tournament, and, although the odds favour the Dutch, Koeman is wary of the threat posed by Michael O’Neill’s side.

“They are fighting machines,” he said through a translator. “Perhaps they haven’t got the structure or quality technically but it’s very direct, direct confrontations.

“They are a team that can make the games difficult for any opponent and we have to see how we can find the solutions.”