West Bromwich Albion star Chris Brunt has opened up for the first time about his season-ending injury which has ruled him out for playing for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016, whilst speaking to Sky Sports.
The 31-year-old ruptured his knee ligaments playing for the Baggies at the end of February, and his worst fears were subsequently realised when it was confirmed he would not recover in time to play for his country in France.
Brunt has won 54 caps for his country and was a key member of Michael O'Neill's side which secured qualification for a first major tournament in 30 years, missing just two of 10 matches.
Talking to Sky Sports, the midfielder discussed his injury for the first time and admitted that he broke down in tear whilst relaying the news to his family.
Brunt said: "The scans the next day revealed it all and I was in a bad place on that Sunday afternoon. It was gutting. My wife was out and I phoned her but I had to hang up. I then phoned my mum and dad and ended up hanging up on them as well. It was just too emotional. I'm pretty laid back and things don't tend to get to me, but that was tough to take.
"We [Northern Ireland] have worked so hard. The games we qualified were great occasions. A few months down the line, things begin to build up. I'd booked for the family to come over to watch.
"There were the friendlies in March to look forward to and it has all been taken away with one innocuous moment. I'm devastated about the games in the summer but it's one of those things. I'll get my head down and get back as quick as possible."
Playing for his country in the summer tournament in France would have been a fitting reward for Brunt, who has experienced 12 years of hurt as a Northern Irish international with the team consistently failing to qualify for World Cups and European Championships.
However, the experienced player, who has appeared over 300 times for West Brom, has insisted that despite his injury he is determined to make it to France to support his teammates and country.
He added: "[O'Neill] said that whatever way I'd like to be involved they would make it happen. It'll depend on rehab schedules at West Brom.
"Obviously I can't play in the games but I'd like to go and experience it in some shape or form and support the lads who have supported me."
Brunt can at least look forward to playing Premier League football against next season, with Tony Pulis' Albion having moved clear of relegation danger with a strong run of form in recent weeks.