Irish defender Kevin Kilbane is fighting to save his career after a back operation ended his feint hopes of playing a part at Euro 2012.
The Hull City player was discarded by Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni midway through the qualifying campaign and now accepts that he won’t add to his 110 caps.
The surgery, to replace damaged discs in his back, has brought Kilbane’s season to an end after he had moved to Derby County on loan from Hull.
Kilbane told the Daily Mail’s Colin Young: “I am devastated about the Euros but pleased that the operation this week seems to have been a success.
“I didn’t hold out much hope of making the squad anyway if I am honest after missing out on the last couple of squads through injury.
“But obviously I was still hoping that I would be in contention and would be able to put a string of performances together at club level to give the manager something to think about.
“I wish I could have gone obviously. We have waited a long time to get back into a major finals and I am sorry I won’t be with the lads.
“But my health is more important and I have been in agony for months and needed to get it sorted.”
Ironically, Kilbane picked up the injury at an Ireland training session in September.
“I had two lots of epidural injections before Christmas which didn’t really seem to make much difference so I had a word with the physio at Hull and we made the decision to go for the operation, and I am delighted I did,” added Kilbane.
“I have two pro-lapsed discs and the muscles were wrapped round nerves and all sorts. It seems it was in quite a mess but hopefully it is all sorted now. It certainly feels better already.
“I will rest for a few days, and I have some little exercises to do and then it is just a case of weeks and months of rehab and bike work, which promises to be lots of fun.”