It wasn't good news because it meant the World Cup campaign hadn't been successful and that's never good for the Irish team. You never want to see that, whether you're involved or not. On the other hand, I was hopeful I might get an opportunity to come back in and that proved to be the case.
I hadn't been out for that long before in my career and I found it difficult for the first couple of months, but it was a bit of an eye opener. At the back of your mind, you're thinking, this is quite severe, what am I going to be like when I come back? And will it affect me long term? But once I got to the third month, I started kicking on and could physically see myself getting bigger. I knew that I'd be coming back in good shape.
Even last year, after the team had won games in Europe, he'd be in the dressing room afterwards picking out small points, small faults and discussing them with us, but that's what he's like, he's very ambitious. He knows we're a young squad and wants us to improve every day and that's one of the reasons why we've been so successful under Neil.
It was about being rigid, not swaying out of position. The whole team basically knows that if one of us steps out of line, they can break through and score with one pass. It's just concentration. We did a great job that night, limiting them to two or three chances, but they've got the quality and suddenly there's a great ball into the box, Fabregas scores and it's hard to take.
Best position with Ireland
I think it's directly up front or else coming off into the No 10, into the hole. But I think Robbie (Keane) is dictating that role at the minute. I've played on the left plenty of times too. There was chat last month about me being out there, but it wasn't strange to me because I've played there more than 10 games for Celtic and it's never an issue. From my own point of view, though, I think I'm better up front.