Euro 2016: Will Grigg disappointed with NI omission

Will Grigg in training
Will Grigg's action at Euro 2016 was restricted to the training field
Euro 2016
Host: France Dates: 10 June to 10 July
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC TV, BBC Radio, the BBC Sport website and app. Live text commentary on every game on BBC Sport website.

Will Grigg says he is "massively disappointed" after failing to make an appearance for Northern Ireland in their four Euro 2016 games.

The Wigan forward became a cult figure in France through the 'Will Grigg's on Fire' song.

"The song is one thing, but to come to a tournament like this and not play, as a professional footballer, is massively disappointing," said Grigg.

Grigg, 24, was one of only three outfield players in the squad not used.

Michael O'Neill's team bowed out of the competition on Saturday following a 1-0 round-of-16 loss to Wales when Grigg was a spectator from the bench, as he had been throughout the group stage in France.

Prolific for Wigan

Grigg was coming off a campaign where he scored 28 goals in all competitions for his club side.

While he was overlooked in a playing capacity, his name was omnipresent in the stands, on the streets and in press conferences as he gained a popularity across the continent that no one else in the Northern Irish camp enjoyed.

Even without an appearance from Grigg across the four games, O'Neill, 46, has not been able to avoid questions about the striker.

Will Grigg was a popular figure for Northern Ireland fans at Euro 2016
Will Grigg was a popular figure for Northern Ireland fans at Euro 2016

There was an audible groan from the Northern Ireland boss when he was once again asked to comment on Grigg's absence after the defeat on Saturday.

"He was our fourth-choice striker," said O'Neill.

"That's unfortunate. He's a good young player, has a bright future ahead of him but I don't pick my team around what the supporters sing at the games."

O'Neill's stock high

It is the tactical nous O'Neill has displayed that has won him more admirers out in France.

His bold decision to make five changes and switch his system for the game with Ukraine ultimately sent Northern Ireland through and club chairmen will have been impressed by the way his players were well-drilled to stop Robert Lewandowski and Gareth Bale.

Despite recently signing a four-year deal with the team after delivering major tournament football for the first time in 30 years, a £750,000 release clause in O'Neill's contract would not be a huge deterrent to the bigger clubs in England and Scotland should they identify him as a potential manager.

"There's going to be people who are looking at him," said his captain Steven Davis.

"He has done a hell of job here with us. We've had unbelievable progression in the last couple of years. We are unlucky not to be going to the quarter-finals.

"I'm sure there are a lot of clubs who are thinking he is a suitable candidate for a role. Obviously we would like to keep him, selfishly. But I'm sure at some point he will go on to manage a big club side."

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