Sweden international hopes to join Baggies team-mates in France
JONAS Olsson promises his Albion team-mates they can look forward to an experience to treasure next summer - and one he still hopes he can enjoy himself.
Olsson has been a bystander during the latest round of Euro 2016 qualifiers which has brought happiness and heartache to the Baggies squad.
The Northern Ireland trio of Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans can relish next summer's France showcase along with James Chester following Wales' triumph, while James McClean's Republic of Ireland made a late surge and will now battle it out in the play-offs.
The Irish success meant heartbreak for Albion's Scotland duo Darren Fletcher and James Morrison, but no-one at The Hawthorns is going to begrudge the club's Northern Irish branch a taste of next summer's footballing highlight.
“They’ve been flying through qualification, it was really just a matter of when they could secure it," said Olsson, the only surviving Albion player who played at the last European Championships.
"I’m happy for them, they’ve got a lot to look forward to in the summer.
“It is very special, I was part of Euro 2012 – it’s what you dream of when you start playing football, to play in the big tournaments, World Cup or European Championships. It’s very special.
“I’m happy for them and hopefully I’ll be there as well.”
Olsson, who has had to watch the latest qualifying action unfold from the training ground where he continues to receive treatment for a groin injury, still hopes Sweden can qualify either directly or through the play-offs.
They secured at least a play-off berth with a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein at the weekend and now everything rests on the last round of fixtures.
"I want to be a part of it myself but first of all we need to qualify," said Olsson.
“I’ve been in and out of the squad during qualification, we’ve played nine games so far and I think I’ve been involved in six.
“I haven’t played a lot but I’ve been in the squad for most of them.
“If I can play well here, if I can get minutes then I have a chance.
"The fans make it so special and the atmosphere really is electric.
“You know everyone is watching and it’s the biggest sporting event when it’s on.
“I don’t know how it is in Northern Ireland but in Sweden it’s one of few things that really unites the nation so to speak, everyone who doesn’t normally watch football watches the World Cup or Euros. It’s a really cool experience."