Bobby Zamora admits he was forced to put the national interest ahead of personal glory when he made the agonising decision to remove himself from contention for England's World Cup squad.
Fabio Capello had intended to include Zamora in the provisional 30-man World Cup squad named on Tuesday, with the 29-year-old was on course to make his England debut against Mexico on May 24. But knowing that he required pain-killing injections on an Achilles injury to play, Zamora was forced to concede that he would not recover in time.
"I told Fabio that I was struggling and I knew that, had I gone, I wouldn't have done myself or England justice," he said.
"It was a joint decision made by myself, Capello, our medical team and England's medical team.
"The World Cup's a massive tournament. It's not about myself, it's about England.
"Capello wished me all the best, hoped that I get fit and would be available next season."
Zamora admits the end of his World Cup ambitions is hard to stomach.
"It's one of those things, it's come at a bad time and the last five weeks have been terrible for me," he added.
"It's been an up and down season because it's been so good on the pitch and I've scored some important goals. To now pick up this injury has kicked me in the teeth.
"It's come during the last couple of weeks and when there was the possibility of going to the World Cup with England. That's football, it's a cruel game."