West Brom manager Tony Pulis admits Chris Brunt’s knee injury has come at a horrific time after it was confirmed the Northern Irishman would miss Euro 2016.
The versatile 31-year-old underwent surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on Thursday and now begins a six-month spell on the sidelines, ending his season and his hopes of playing in France this summer.
Brunt had helped his country reach their first major international tournament since 1986 but will now not be able to join Baggies team-mates Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans in Michael O’Neill’s squad.
Brunt was back at his club’s training facilities on Friday and Pulis has urged him to put aside the bad news and focus on returning to fitness for the 2016-17 campaign.
“At Chris’ age and the fact Northern Ireland have got there for the first time in a long time, I think Chris was really looking forward to it along with G-Mac and Jonny,” Pulis said.
“It’s so, so unfortunate for the lad, so, so disappointing. But it’s happened and Chris is going to have to get on with it. What we’re talking about now is making sure we give him as much help as we possibly can to get himself fit for next season.
“This season obviously now has been washed away, the Euros has been washed away. It’s important he focuses on getting himself fully prepared and ready to go for next season.
“Brunty will need a couple of days to get over it. You have to get over these things and unfortunately it’s happened at a terrible time for the kid in lots of respects. It’s happened and you have to be man enough to stand up and get on with it.”
Brunt will join an injury list that includes James Morrison, Callum McManaman and Evans ahead of Sunday’s visit of Manchester United to The Hawthorns.
Louis van Gaal’s side have had an upturn in results of late but the Baggies have also been buoyed by a run of just two defeats in 10, while they are also unbeaten at home since before Christmas.
“We will go out there and do our best; that’s what we’ve done in all the games,” Pulis added of his approach to facing United.
“They’re a good side, they’ve got some good players. We know it will be a tough game, they’ve had a great result again on Wednesday night so they’ll come full of confidence.
“It’s just making sure the players enjoy the challenge. The big thing is to enjoy it. The last three league games, we’ve won at Everton, we’ve beaten (Crystal) Palace and then we’ve had a good draw at Leicester.
“The last two games, Leicester and Palace, have been full of goals as well so it keeps everybody quiet.”