Injured Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Rob Elliot will be going to Euro 2016 after all – as a fan.
Elliot, 29, ruptured knee ligaments in Tuesday’s friendly against Slovakia, ruling him out of the tournament.
However, the Newcastle United keeper says he will be in France to cheer his team-mates on.
“All my friends were going to the Italy game to see me,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “Now I am going with them and hopefully we’ll see the lads progress.”
Elliot is a big loss for the international side, but his injury is arguably more harmful to Newcastle’s prospects, with first-choice Tim Krul also injured and no other experienced option for manager Rafael Benitez to call on for Saturday’s trip to fellow strugglers Norwich City.
Elliot, though, is impressed with what he has seen of Benitez and his methods.
“He has been brilliant and his attention to detail is one of the things he’s carried over during his career,” he said. “Not having long to work with us, he’s been straight down to business.
“I’m confident he will keep up us up. The players, the quality is there.”
Newcastle sit 19th in the Premier League table, two places and three points behind Norwich, with a game in hand.
Former Newcastle manager John Carver believes Benitez’s appointment has “given everyone a massive lift”.
But he conceded he is “trying to live in hope” about the Magpies’ prospects, saying Saturday’s result could seal the club’s fate.
“People are looking up at the top of the table, but tomorrow, Norwich v Newcastle is the biggest game,” he said. “If we lose this, we are in big trouble. It could be a fatal blow.”