Brunt likely to miss Euro 2016 finals

West Brom's Chris Brunt is put on a stretcher after being injured in Saturday's game against Crystal Palace

Chris Brunt was taken off on a stretcher during West Brom’s win over Crystal Palace on Saturday

Northern Ireland’s Chris Brunt looks set to miss this summer’s Euro 2016 finals in France with a knee injury.

Scans are understood to have revealed that the 31-year-old has suffered a cruciate ligament injury, which could rule him out for up to nine months.

Brunt, capped 54 times, sustained the injury during West Brom’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.

The left-back played in eight matches during the Euro qualifying campaign but faces a lengthy rehabilitation period.

“It is a shattered dream for him obviously not to be able to represent his country in the Euros. But hopefully there is more to come from him,” Brunt’s team-mate Jonas Olsson said on Wednesday.

Neither West Bromwich Albion, nor the Irish Football Association, have yet made any definitive comment about the outcome of the player’s meeting with a specialist on Wednesday.

Brunt made his Northern Ireland debut against Switzerland in 2004 and was regularly deployed on the left wing, before more recently playing in a full-back role.

His anticipated absence will come as a major blow to Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, ahead of the country’s first appearance at a major finals since 1986.

Northern Ireland have been drawn in Group C for Euro 2016 in France, alongside Ukraine, Poland and world champions Germany. Their first match is against Poland in Nice on Sunday, 12 June.

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