SIMON COX admits he was disappointed to be hauled off at half-time in last night's 4-0 defeat to Spain in Gdansk.
Cox was handed a rare start in a competitive game as he came into the starting XI in place of Kevin Doyle, who was harshly dropped to the bench (and then left there for the rest of the game, despite the fact that Doyle's recent displays in the green shirt meant he deserved more from the Ireland manager).
But Cox only got to taste 45 minutes of action as he was replaced by Jonathan Walters at the break. Cox did little right or wrong in the 45 minutes he was on the field, and seemed to have no idea of what his manager wanted him to do or where he was supposed to play.
"The manager felt there was a job and a role for me but then decided at half-time, when we were 1-0 down, that he needed to change it and he decided to put Jon Walters on. I was disappointed with that but I can't knock his decision," Cox said after the game.
"It's hard to take but the manager is paid to make those calls and those decisions and what he says goes."
So where was Cox supposed to be playing?
"My instructions were to get as close to their deep-lying midfield player as I could, try to keep as good as possible and then, when the ball went forward, to try and get there to support Robbie," says Cox.
"It was just a tough night for us overall, though I don't think we were outclassed, we held our own in stages of the game. It was a tough ask and it was one of those nights when not much went right for us and everything went right for them.
"They are the best side I have ever played against, by a country mile. I can't see many teams beating them at this tournament, Spain are such a quality side and they'll be up there when the final comes around."
He added: "It's hard to bounce back now. We may be out of the tournament but we still have a game to play, we have to try and pick ourselves up, put on a gutsy and proud performance in the Italy game on Monday."