ANDY KEOGH has admitted that he was 'angry and upset' to miss out on Euro 2012, but kept his thoughts private because he wanted to prolong his Ireland career.
The Millwall man has always been highly regarded by Giovanni Trapattoni and was therefore distraught to miss out on Poland last summer after a strong finish to the season with his club.
He came back into Trapattoni's plans and played a part in the beginning of the World Cup campaign. Nevertheless, the pain of his Euros exclusion clearly remains in his thoughts.
"I felt angry and upset, definitely," said Keogh, ahead of linking up with the rest of the Ireland squad for Wednesday's friendly with England and three more summer fixtures with Georgia, Faroe Islands and Spain.
"I had a good three or four months prior to the announcement and finished up as highest Irish scorer that season."
Why didn't he react angrily at the time?
"I want to still play for my country," he explains. "I was disappointed. I've got my personal opinions on stuff that don't need to be said. But you've got to be professional, accept decisions and get on with it. I decided to move on and that's what happened.
"Since the Europeans it's been good to be involved again. He (Trapattoni) makes his decisions based on what he thinks. Hopefully, I'll be fit and available to play whenever he asks."
Keogh would prefer to be involved in a central role, but has dug in to feature in the wide department when required.
The Dubliner is respected by Trapattoni for his football intelligence, and he has developed it further this week in the coaching course for elite Irish players in Malahide. They are effectively studying for a combination of their UEFA A and B licences.
"It's kind of hectic, from nine in the morning to seven in the evening," he says. "This is just the start of it... It's about having a better understanding of the game and to have option on the table when you need them."
Keogh was speaking at the launch of the Irish Football National Draw, a new initiative that is aiming to generate €500,000 for clubs and leagues around the country. Prizes include Ford cars and trips to the Champions League final. More details can be found on www.fai.ie/national-draw