In March, Chris Kirkland's dreams of playing for England at Euro 2004 were dashed by injury.
Last week, England's Euro 2004 hopes ended with penalty agony in Lisbon, but it was back in March that Chris Kirkland's dreams of playing for the Three Lions in Portugal ended.
The Liverpool 'keeper recovered from ankle and finger injuries to make twelve appearances last season, before a broken wrist sustained in training ruled him out of the remainder of Liverpool's campaign and also dashed any chances of a summer with Sven's men at Euro 2004.
"It was very hard, but I accepted back in March that I would be struggling," Kirkland told TheFA.com.
"In Euro 2000 Kevin Keegan invited to me to go with the squad, but unfortunately I injured my back so I was unable to go to that one either."
Instead on dwelling on what might have been, however, Kirkland has enjoyed casting an eye over the tournament from afar, despite the disappointment of England's defeat to Portugal in a dreaded penalty shoot-out.
"I watched all the games and it was obvious that a lot of teams were capable of doing very well and there were a few surprise packages, like Greece getting through to the latter stages," he said.
"I don't think England performed as well as they could have done, but it's terrible to go out on penalties."
"Shoot-outs are a no lose situation for 'keepers as they're not really expected to save that many because most top players these days put the ball where they want, more or less.
"I suppose a lot of it's down to luck or guessing the right way." Would the former Coventry man have been tempted to take one like Ricardo had he been involved?
"It's hard to say, but I have taken one in a penalty shoot-out before and scored, but it wasn't quite as important as the European Championships," he revealed.
One player in Portugal who has shown no nerves in front of goal is Kirkland's Liverpool team-mate Milan Baros. The Czech striker has scored five goals on the way to the semi-final but it's not something that has surprised the big stopper.
"Milan is having a great tournament.
"When he first came to Liverpool he wasn't in the best of shape, but he worked really hard and lost a lot of weight over the summer, came back pre-season and he was really flying.
"He then got a bad injury against Blackburn when he broke his ankle. But again he came back really strong which is full credit to him."
For Kirkland now though, the forthcoming season represents a massive opportunity both at international and club level. With a new manager in the shape of Spaniard Rafael Benitez arriving in Merseyside and England's qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup beginning, he'll be aiming to shrug off the hoodoo of an injury-ravaged career and finally earn his first senior international cap.
"I'm really positive. This is it. The next two years are really big years for me. I can't wait to get back," he said confidently.
"I started training on Monday and just did a bit of light stuff and I'm feeling really good.
"When a new manager comes in, nobody is guaranteed a place, so everyone's going to be out to make the right impression before the first game of the season.
"He [Benitez] wants to bring success to Liverpool Football Club and I'm sure that will go down very well with the players and the fans.
The 24-year-old added: "First of all I've got to get into the Liverpool team and that's going to be hard. Jerzy [Dudek] is a fantastic keeper and it's going to be really hard to try and displace him, but I'll give it my best shot.
"On the first day of the season hopefully I'll be between the sticks and whatever happens after that with England happens, but I'm not really thinking that far ahead. You've got to be playing for your club first to have a chance of getting into the England squad.
"But I'm now looking forward and hopefully I can make the squad for the World Cup in 2006."