Former Ireland international defender David Meyler has spoken of being 'distraught' at missing out on World Cup 2018, and gave a fascinating insight into the mindset of players when withstanding abuse from the general public.
David, and his father John, joined us at our #OTBCL Heineken roadshow in Cork, and opened up on missing out on Russia and the role that his dad played in his career.
David Meyler on Denmark
Attention first turned to the Irish rugby World Cup campaign, as an indicator of the pressure that elite players are under.
"I heard a very interesting quote a few years ago: 'Professional sport is the only job where someone is physically trying to stop you doing your best', said David.
"The rugby lads will have prepared for a year, will have done everything to best of their knowledge for a successful World Cup - to go and win the World Cup. Then something goes wrong.
"People forget that at times; that these lads are trying their best."
"I said to Pierre Højbjerg: tell @ChrisEriksen8 I'm looking for him!"@DavidMeyler at our #OTBCL roadshow in #Cork, telling us how he is still not over missing out on the World Cup! @Heineken_IE
For more: https://t.co/SIAnDmf7Ve pic.twitter.com/BOd7i0djxJ
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) October 24, 2019
"The Denmark game that we lost 5-1 - I was distraught from that. That was tough.
"After we had beaten Wales, we were on cloud nine thinking 'We will beat Denmark.'
"Our focus was on Denmark, and then Christian Eriksen turned up. Even yesterday, I was doing some work in Southampton and bumped into [Danish Southampton captain] Pierre Højbjerg.
"I said to him 'tell Eriksen I'm looking for him'. I still haven't gotten over it. It still frustrates me. We had done everything to go to that World Cup, and it just backfires."
David painted a picture of solitude and loneliness, when speaking about the dressing room, and period after, the match.
"I'm sitting in the changing room at half-time, myself and Harry Arter, in my shorts with my hands on my head.
"All my family was at the game, my wife was at the game. I'm thinking 'the game's gone, it's done, it's over.'
"You get in the shower and you think 'it's gone'. You've waited so long and it has just passed you by."
The neutral observer would be forgiven for thinking that this would be compounded by the abuse that footballers have to endure, both on and off the pitch.
John gave an illuminating insight into the abuse that David got, with an anecdote from his time on Wearside.
"I sat at Anfield with this fella behind me and he spent ninety minutes abusing David.
"You get guys over in England where Saturday is 'their' day, they are tanked up from drink since 6am on the bus going to Liverpool or here and there.
"They want their five minutes of fame, and they are going to abuse you."
This was no picnic for David, either.
"I have suffered with abuse over the years. I had bother a few years ago [in Cork] and I said 'get someone to sit down alongside me and watch'.
"Fellas have cuts off you here, there and everywhere."
Catch the full #OTBCL show on our Youtube channel