Cardiff City midfielder Will Vaulks has candidly revealed his disappointment after being omitted from the Wales squad for the upcoming camp.
Vaulks has been in a rich vein of form in recent months and has arguably been one of City’s better players during Mick McCarthy’s reign.
However, he was overlooked by the national side for their upcoming trio of games against Belgium, Mexico and the Czech Republic over the next 10 days.
It came as a bitter disappointment for him, understandably so given his recent performances in a City shirt, and he said as much ahead of his side’s clash with arch-rivals Swansea City this weekend.
“Yeah, I am very disappointed not to be selected,” an honest Vaulks said. “I’m not going to lie to you and say I was happy with it. I was disappointed with the last camp as well.
“I was half expecting it, because I was playing before the last camp and I wasn’t selected. I don’t think if I scored a hat-trick tomorrow I would get a call-up!
“I don’t know why I’ve not been selected, which is a bit disappointing. I’d love to know the reason, I haven’t had any contact. That’s football, it’s a ruthless business.
“That’s up to the manager at Wales, to include me or not. I was disappointed, you can probably tell.
“At the Stoke game the other night, there were seven or eight Welsh players on the pitch and I was the only one not selected.
“So it does hurt. People who know me know how proud I am to be involved in the Welsh set-up. To have it taken away is disappointing.
“I can only focus on Cardiff. At the moment, being honest, I think it’s going pretty well. I think I am performing at a decent level.
“Keep knocking on the door and you never know, the phone call might come.”
While the heartbreak is clearly a stinging disappointment, he assured supporters he would not give up on breaking his way back into the fray with the national side.
“I’ve never given up on anything in my career or my life,” he said.
“I don’t know if it would happen now, under the current manager. If I was wanted I would be there by now.
“In the month leading up to this camp, I scored two goals and was in the team of the month for the Championship and I wasn’t selected.
“I don’t think I can do much more. I’m not in the form of my life, playing unbelievably week in, week out, but I think I’ve done enough.
“That’s out of my hands now. I just keep performing and hopefully they see something I can offer, because I think I can offer something.”
A cruel layer to this which many on the periphery perhaps do not appreciate is the proximity in which Wales will be training alongside Cardiff City next week.
Vaulks will have to watch on as his team-mates Harry Wilson, Kieffer Moore and Jonny Williams stride out on to a different training pitch, just yards away, while he trains alongside his clubmates.
It appears to be real salt in the wound stuff for Vaulks.
“What makes it extra hard and what people don’t realise is that we share a training ground with Wales. So to see them at camp and to have no communication, that I’m not good enough or I don’t offer this or that, would have been nice.
“I’m not going to dwell on that. It’s football, you don’t always get the answers you want.
“It’ll be hard to see the lads training next week, Kieffer, Harry, Jonny. But all the best to them, I hope they do well. Hopefully I’ll be there again soon.”
With his Cardiff City hat on, though, there is the small matter of a South Wales derby to contend with this weekend.
Cardiff have enjoyed a marvellous run under Mick McCarthy, losing just once in 12 games, but wins have come at a premium of late and they have taken just six points from their last five games.
There is a danger the momentum could just be running out at the most crucial time and Vaulks conceded that while City, who currently sit six points off the play-offs with nine fixtures left, might not have to win every game they have remaining, there is no debating that the derby is a must win.
“I don’t think we have to win every game, but not far off,” he said.
“The three points is just as important to keep our season alive as it is to beat Swansea.
“If we were playing anyone we would be desperate for the three points.
“If we draw, I don’t think it is the end of the season. There are 27 points remaining. You see how quickly it changes when you go on a little run.
“I’m not going to pretend like we are not looking at it, we all are.
“Must-win? You can put those words on it, if you want. I think it is a must-win game.”