Cox: 'I hope I've done enough'
FOR the fourth week in a row, Simon Cox was just an interested spectator last weekend as his West Brom team-mates strutted their stuff while the Ireland international watched from the bench.
Shane Long and Cox are going through the same emotions right now as Roy Hodgson's side carry on without the Irish pair in the side, forced out by the form of players like Peter Odemwingie.
Despite the lack of first-team football with his club, Cox hopes that he's done enough in the line of national duty with Ireland in the last year to warrant a place in the 23-man squad for Euro 2012.
The 24-year-old has gone from being a nowhere man -- 12 months ago he had never been capped at any level -- to being a vital member of the Ireland panel.
For now, that means a super-sub role, one which he filled admirably by coming off the bench to score against the Czech Republic last month, but Cox firmly believes that his efforts in the Ireland squad over the last year will secure him a seat on the plane to Poland, despite his relative lack of first-team action.
"I hope I have done enough to get into the squad. Some of the lads in the squad are playing week in, week out for their clubs and that's not the case with me.
"I have to rely on what I have done for the Ireland manager before to strengthen my case for making the squad," Cox told the Evening Herald.
"Hopefully, Mr Trapattoni sees something in me that he likes and I can only be grateful for each squad I make, as I'm not playing for my club every week. It's only on the training ground with Ireland and in the internationals that I can show the Ireland manager what I am capable of," added Cox.
Long and Cox have a lot to chat about these days with both men struggling to get game time with the Baggies.
Cox has been left on the bench for the last four games and has started in just four of their last 18 Premier League matches.
"Games are hard to come by for me at the moment. Our formation has changed in the last while so that changes the whole dynamic for a player like me. We've gone from playing a 4-4-2 to playing a 4-3-3 and that makes it even harder for someone like me to get on the pitch," Cox reveals.
"The form of Peter Odemwingie and Marc-Antoine Fortune at the moment is very good, especially Fortune. He has taken his chance and done really well, not just with his goals but his performances overall, so it's hard for me and Shane to even get on the pitch at the minute.
"The team are doing well at the moment so, like Shane Long, I can't go banging on the manager's door and demanding to be in the side as they are doing okay.
"I'd love to be getting more game time but the side are doing well. If we were getting beaten every week then you might have a case but the team are getting good results."
When he came to Dublin for the play-off against Estonia last year, Cox admitted that the lack of first-team opportunities at the Hawthorns was a worry and said he would consider a loan move if his place in the Ireland squad was in jeopardy, but now he says he's likely to remain a Baggie.
"I think I am here to stay in terms of this season. If someone came in and said they wanted to take me on loan it would be up to West Brom, but I see myself staying at West Brom for the rest of the season," he says.
"I spoke to Marco when I was over for the last international and he was happy with my situation, he didn't necessarily say that I had to get away from the club on loan and get games, but on the other hand he didn't say it would be a bad idea to do that.
"So I will have to wait, try to stay injury free and stay as fit as I can to make sure I am in a good physical shape for the time when the squad is announced in May.
"The plan is to stay here. I don't even think that West Brom would let me leave on loan anyway. It's a matter of being patient and waiting for my chance to come because we don't know what will happen between now and the end of the season."