Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has lifted the lid on his pain and disappointment at missing out on a place in England's World Cup squad over the summer after bullishly playing through an injury in the latter stages of last season.
Gomez was in line to go to Russia as part of Gareth Southgate's team after being named Man of the Match against Brazil last November and being called up again in March. But he suffered an ankle injury against the Netherlands and made his return for Liverpool before he was ready.
The youngster had been forced to miss games against Crystal Palace, Everton and Bournemouth. He made his comeback against West Brom, but there a recurrence of the problem against Stoke in April and he was determined not to come off at half-time.
Gomez had to watch on from the sidelines as his Anfield colleagues took on Real Madrid in the Champions League final, while his injury meant Southgate was unable to pick him for England, with the Three Lions reaching the World Cup semi finals and finishing fourth without him.
The worst part for Gomez is that prior to facing Stoke he hadn't needed surgery. It was only after playing through the pain in that game he had to go under the knife and end his season early.
"You have got to listen to your body. That was a marker for me to take it easy and learn," he said, as quoted by Sky Sports ahead of England games against Spain and Switzerland.
"It just wasn't meant to be. I had a long period where I was beating myself up. I was replaying it over in my mind. I kept thinking I should have done something to stop things going the way they did. But it's done now. I'm over it. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
"[Missing the World Cup] was tough, I won't lie, seeing the team do so well.
"As a fan I was buzzing and at the same time, it was tough that I missed out. Anyone who was in the squad would have felt that way. After that point I just wanted them to do well, I knew it wasn't meant to be, just get on with it and use it as motivation."